Results from Innovation Norway's tourist survey for 2014 was met with excitement from the industry. The report showed an increase in the number of international tourists coming to Norway, but also an increase in the number of Norwegians who choose to travel in their own country.
Last year travel Magazines like Lonely Planet placed the Norwegian fjords on their list of "8 voyages of a lifetime" and named Romsdalseggen one of the world's ten best hikes. National Geographic also showed their enthusiasm for our country, naming Fjord Norway one of the world's most beautiful destinations.
Our government and destination companies promote Norway to the international market with the slogan; "Powered by Nature" and it is precisely our nature that sells and attracts international tourists from all over the world.
Despite an increase in both the number of tourists and revenue from tourism, the government has ironically a desire to tighten the budget for marketing. When the government budget for 2015 was revealed it presented a proposal to reduce marketing funds to Innovation Norway with 40 million.
"The tourism industry has delivered good results in 2014 and the reason is modern, cost-effective tourism products, positive consumer trends and moderate exchange rate. To cut in marketing funds to Innovation Norway now is to cut in future revenues, "says Managing Director of NHO tourism, Kristin Krohn Devold.
It is estimated that in 2015 the number of international tourist traveling to Norway will increase further more.
The sky is the limit?
This year started off great with Lonely Planet selecting Northern Norway as one of their top 50 places to visit in 2015. Raving about the beautiful nature and northern lights.
And while Norwegian tourism seams to be climbing for the top, our currency is sinking to the bottom. Making it perhaps more accessible to foreign tourists. Making the number one argument I have heard so many times, not so valid any more.
"I'd love to go to Norway, but it's too expensive," or
"I liked Norway, but it was so expensive there."
So I am hopeful that the industry will keep on growing, despite cut backs in funding from our government.
Here are some facts about the Norwegian tourism industry to date:
Norwegian tourism has almost 140 000 employees.
Total revenue from tourism is nearly 70 billion.
Tourism accounts for five percent of the Gross Domestic Product in Norway
The tourism industry consists of five main industries: experiences, dining, lodging, transportation and communication.
Transportation and accommodation is highest in terms of value, with almost half of the industry's total value added. Dining is highest in terms of number of employees, with nearly 50 000 employees.