Norwegian Tourism Partners

Norwegian Tourism Partners is a network-based organisation, facilitating dialogue between the tourism industry and the government. The organisation was founded in 2004 by representatives from the tourism industry.

As an independent umbrella organisation of the Norwegian tourism industry, the Norwegian Tourism Partners represents and campaigns for the sector’s common, overlapping interests and needs.

The tourism industry is an extremely heterogeneous but economically immensely strong sector:

  • Almost 170.000 people in Norway work in the tourism industry – this is 6,7 percent of Norway´s total workforce. In addition, the industry contributes 4.2 percent to gross value added.
  • Approximately 164 billion NOK is spent on travelling and in the scope of travelling in Norway per year – about 114 billion NOK by Norwegian travellers and nearly 50 billion NOK by tourists from abroad.
  • More than 33 million overnight stays by domestic and foreign guests can be annually registered in Norway with a growing number of foreign guests which has been above average for many years.

Norway is a tourist country – this applies to both as a source market as well as a popular holiday destination.

Norwegian Tourism Partners

– Coalition of the important players in the tourism industry

Approximately 14 of the largest companies and associations from all areas of the tourism industry in Norway, representing approximately 90 percent of the international marketing expenses make up the solid basis of the Norwegian Tourism Partners. The spectrum ranges from air, sea and rail transport sectors through hotels and the most important tourism marketing regions and destinations. It comprises private tourism as well as the business travel sector.

Our members:

  • Nordic Choice Hotels
  • Scandic Hotels
  • Thon Hotels
  • Radisson Hotel Group
  • Norlandia Hotel Group
  • Hurtigruten
  • Color Line
  • Fjord Line
  • The NSB Group
  • Avinor
  • Scandinavian Airlines System
  • Fjord Norway
  • Northern Norway Tourist Board
  • VisitOslo
  • Norske Fjell

Norwegian Tourism Partners

– Political communication and network

The Norwegian Tourism Partners work has the goal of maintaining and optimizing mobility in order to ensure the attractiveness of travelling. The point is to convey to politicians and the public how strong this industry is, what they accomplish and what framework conditions are necessary in order to meet the enormous travel desire of the people and, at the same time, to continue to function as a strong business factor and job motor. A level playing field – i.e. similar conditions of competition for domestic and international players, for representatives of Old and New Economy – is inevitable for this. Furthermore, it is important to create a reasonable balance between the necessary foundations for a viable and sustainable economy on the one hand and climate and consumer protection on the other.

Therefore, the Norwegian Tourism Partners communicates with the political decision makers and applies itself with its positions and arguments. At the same time, the association functions as an important network. It provides a platform where representatives of the sector can exchange information not only with each other but also with representatives of politics and science and establish new contacts. Last but not least, the Norwegian Tourism Partners generates facts and figures by means of studies that illustrate the relevance of the industry and can be used within the framework of public and political argumentation.

Norwegian Tourism Partners

– The board´s annual report 2017

Norsk Reiseliv/Norwegian Tourism Partners has undergone significant changes in 2017. From being a lobby organisation with a purchased secretariat function, its own office with daily manager was established in the autumn of 2016 with the intention of raising the profile of the organisation.

We have continued with this work in 2017 when we changed name from Forum for Reiseliv to Norsk Reiseliv/Norwegian Tourism Partners. We have developed a new graphic profile and logo and we have launched a new website, have also completed and work with the implementation of our strategy.

Norsk Reiseliv has worked actively with the Norwegian Parliament in connection with the government’s announcement by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries in presenting the White Paper on Tourism in March 2017. We have taken an active role in input meetings in the context of various departments and in the Parliament hearings in connection with the national budget for the year, the White Paper on Tourism, the National Transport Plan and the Norwegian Sea Management Plan. It is important for our organisation that we are involved where things happen, that we help with our expertise and that we raise the profile of the association as the unifying organisation in the travel industry.

A large number of meetings have been held with potential new member companies and partners, as well as with political environments, political leadership and government agencies in the various departments that are involved in tourism. The goal of the meetings has been to inform about Norsk Reiseliv and to initiate collaboration.

The world is changing, new markets, audiences, trends and new technology require focusing on more targeted and cost effective product development, distribution and marketing of Norway as a destination. This will be a prerequisite in order for the tourism industry to gain momentum and increase earnings in increasingly tough international competition. With future uncertainty in relation to several of our established industries including the oil and gas industry, Norway needs better profitability and higher growth in traditional competitive industries.

We believe that Norway is in a good position to succeed in actively investing in tourism in the form of sustainable growth in a future national and international tourism market. To achieve this, we must work for a better utilisation of the accommodation and transport capacity throughout the year by developing tourism products that are adaptable to the low seasons. We must strengthen the basis for private ownership and contribute to making the tourism industry a leading industrial. Norway will not become a mass tourism country, but a country that creates revenue and employment through profitable and satisfied visitors, whether the influential part of business tourism, meeting and congress tourism, event and adventure tourism, holiday and leisure tourism or travel where the visitor combines work and leisure (bleisure).

In the socio-economic picture, tourism is an increasingly more important contributor to the creation of local value and an important industry that creates jobs all over the country with a significant tax base and the integration of employees with various ethnic backgrounds.  But there is still a long way to go before the industry as such becomes profitable. There are large variations in vacancies in the hotels with a vacancy rate of under 56 percent on an annual basis. While some regions and destinations, especially in Western Norway and in Northern Norway, have good access for visitors, other destinations and tourism products are operating at a loss. This applies especially to small and medium-sized tourism businesses in the rural districts.

Developments in the tourism industry have over the last few years been positive in relation to the increasing volume, and the interest in taking holiday in Norway has increased. The combined number of overnight stays that is registered by SSB (Statistics Norway), i.e. hotel, camping, holiday homes and youth hostels, totalled 33.3 million guest days in 2017. This was an increase of 0.5 percent from 2016. Norwegian overnight stays ended up at the same level as in 2016, while there was an increase of 2 percent from abroad. An increase that essentially consisted of camping, with a growth from abroad of 8.5 percent. The hotel overnight stays from abroad had a decline of 1 percent in relation to 2016. It was especially winter/spring 2017 that had a decline in relation to foreign guest days, while the autumn and especially December showed a positive development in relation to 2016.

The tourism industry has managed to charge higher prices in 2017 than the preceding years. Compared with 2016, hotel revenue increased by 7 percent to NOK 14.7 billion. The average price per room was NOK 946, which is 5 percent higher than the year before. Capacity utilisation for hotel rooms increased from 54.5 percent in 2016 to 56 percent in 2017.

We have no official statistics that show the number of international arrivals, but the figures for international passengers at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen increased by 9 percent from 2016 to 2017, while domestic passengers increased by 4 percent. If this is a trend that also reflects other arrivals to Norway, then it may indicate that the number of travellers is continuing to increase, but that guests are spending less time in Norwegian accommodation and that there is an increasing number of tourists that stay overnight in unregistered accommodations such as holiday homes, cottages and Airbnb.

International tourist arrivals on a worldwide basis grew in 2017 by 7 percent and came up in total to 1.322 million, according to UNWTO’s World Tourism Barometer. It is the Mediterranean countries that have the best results in Europe with 8% more international arrivals than in 2016. Africa had a growth of 8%, while Asia and the Pacific Ocean registered 6% growth, the Middle East 5% and America 3%.

The growth is expected to continue in 2018 with a prediction for foreign travel to Northern Europe of 6 percent in 2018.

Feedback so far from Innovation Norway, Norwegian Ski Lift Association and the Norwegian Hospitality Association shows that the tourism industry takes a positive view of the winter season 2018, the same shows the number of booked flights for the first half of 2018.  Cabin rentals in the mountains so far have experienced a nice growth in 2018, while Airbnb grows.

2018 will be an important year for Norsk Reiseliv in which the strategies will be made live and where the further work with the follow-up of the White Paper on Tourism will be a priority work area. The same will apply to the preparation of a strategy and action plan for business-oriented research with special focus on how to provide knowledge for the tourism industry.

Oslo, 6 March 2018

Svein Arild Steen-Mevold /s/