copy the linklink copied!Norway

copy the linklink copied!Tourism in the economy

In the last decade, the economic contribution of tourism in Norway has increased considerably, reaching NOK 120.3 billion in 2017. This represents 3.6% of total GDP, a share that has remained stable in recent years. In 2017, the tourism sector employed 166 000 people, representing 6.1% of total employment. The sector has become a significant employer, particularly in rural areas. Travel exports represented 13.0% of total service exports in 2018.

Inbound tourism saw 5.7 million visits in 2018, following a considerable increase in the last couple of years. Inbound tourism expenditure amounted to NOK 55.3 billion in 2018, compared to NOK 53.8 billion in 2017. Recent annual fluctuations in visits have been substantial, ranging from a 12.4% increase in 2016 to a 2.7% decrease in 2017. Exchange rate conditions have been favourable for inbound tourism since 2013, with a weak Norwegian currency making a visit to Norway less expensive. Key inbound markets are the neighbouring countries of Sweden, Germany and Denmark. Long-haul markets such as the United States and China have seen a sharp increase in visits to Norway since 2013.

Domestic tourism, for both leisure and business purposes, dominates the tourism industry in Norway. In 2018, Norwegians accounted for 69.3% of all commercial overnight stays. A total of 19.0 million domestic overnight trips took place in the country in 2018, a sharp increase of 25.8% compared to 2017.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism governance and funding

Responsibility for the development and regulation of tourism lies with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The Ministry co-operates with other ministries in order to co-ordinate policies of importance to tourism. One example is the extended co-operation with the Ministry of Culture to showcase the potential for increased value creation between the cultural, creative and tourism sectors. The Ministry of Climate and Environment is another key partner given its role in developing policies to promote a more sustainable tourism sector.

Regional and local authorities also influence tourism development. They establish the conditions of key importance to tourism, with responsibility for planning and regulation in areas such as infrastructure, utilities, national parks and numerous local attractions linked to natural and cultural heritage. Some regions and municipalities have strategies for tourism and many give financial support to their local Destination Management Organisations.

In 2020, Norway will implement a regional reform process that will reduces the number of counties, with those that remain being enlarged, with renewed roles and wider responsibilities. The objective is to build stronger regions that can provide a more efficient framework to coordinate activities and solve cross-sectoral challenges. This reform is expected to benefit the tourism industry, which interacts with many sectors and stakeholders across current regional borders.

copy the linklink copied!
Norway: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
Norway: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Source: OECD, adapted from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, 2020.

Innovation Norway is a state-owned company that functions as the National Tourism Organisation. Innovation Norway's main goal is to increase overall economic growth and value creation in the Norwegian economy, within sustainability goals. To reach this target in the tourism sector, Innovation Norway focuses on stimulating product development, as well as promoting Norway as a brand and tourist destination internationally. Innovation Norway is funded mainly by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, but also receives some funding from other ministries and counties. The latter is most often earmarked for specific sectors and projects. For its NTO role, Innovation Norway, which receives NOK 178 million in 2020 (representing a reduction of 22% compared to the annual funding in 2015-2019). In addition to these earmarked funds, Norwegian tourism companies received approximately NOK 315 million in 2018 from various funding sources in Innovation Norway, to develop their activity.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism policies and programmes

One of the key challenges facing the Norwegian tourism sector is its relatively low level of value creation and profitability compared to that of other industries. This is due to factors such as a low share of high value-added tourism products, seasonality and lack of co-operation in and between destinations. Certain destinations also face the challenge of tourism developing in an unsustainable way, with overcrowding becoming a major issue at certain times of the year.

In 2017, the Norwegian Government and Parliament established the following national policy priorities for developing Norwegian tourism: i) establishing sound framework conditions for business activity, ii) developing a sustainable tourism industry, iii) increasing co-operation between stakeholders, iv) continuing to promote Norway as a tourism destination, v) increasing knowledge and expertise in the tourism industry, and vi) improving accessibility to boost competitiveness. The Government has also previously developed a tourism strategy based on agricultural resources (2017), which is now being implemented, focusing on Norway as a destination with unique food experiences.

The Government has recently increased public investments in infrastructure in Norway, focusing on developing safer, more efficient and greener transport systems. In order to improve co-ordination and effectiveness, the structure of Norway’s DMOs has been amended, with the private sector now taking a leading role following principles set out by the Government. Seven new larger entities have been established to secure more reliable and stable financial arrangements, as well as facilitating co-ordination between the local tourism industry and local public authorities.

In 2019, a key policy development was the launch of the cultural tourism strategy. The work was led jointly by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries with input from many other interest groups. This strategy recognises the potential to further combine culture and tourism, and focuses on developing more cultural-based tourism products. With a budget of NOK 16.4 million the goal for the strategy is to strengthen Norway as an attractive cultural destination, resulting in higher added value, reductions in seasonality and more jobs across both sectors. The strategy has four priority policy areas: i) strengthening Co-operation among culture and tourism stakeholders, ii) addressing a need for more knowledge of cultural tourism, iii) developing and adapting cultural tourism products to make Norway more attractive as a destination throughout the year, iv) increasing promotion of the cultural offer to strengthen Norway as a destination.

The Government is also taking steps to mainstream sustainability. This includes the creation of a Sustainable Destination certification scheme, which enhances destination management and aims for long term progress. The sustainability standard is internationally recognised through the Global Sustainable Tourism Council with indicators regularly updated by certified destinations (Box 3.9).

copy the linklink copied!
Towards a greener cruise and maritime industry in Norway

Cruise tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the tourism sector and can make a significant contribution to a destination’s economy. Norway has a long coastline with spectacular scenery that attracts a growing number of cruise vessels and passengers. Cruise traffic represents an important customer base for local business in many Norwegian destinations. However, cruise traffic contributes to significant emissions into both the sea (as wastewater) and the air. The most popular cruise destinations (such as Geiranger, Flåm and Bergen) have received attention because of the negative impact of cruise traffic on the local environment and local communities. In order to respond to these challenges, the Norwegian Government has introduced the following measures:

  • Stricter regulations on emissions from ships sailing in the Norwegian world heritage fjords from March 2019.

  • A new Harbour and Fairways Act, effective from 2020, will grant local authorities wider powers to limit cruise ships and other vessels' stay ashore or in port, in order to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

  • An increasing number of Norwegian ports are investing in new infrastructure to be able to offer visiting cruise vessels on-shore power supply (from hydropower). This will enable the vessels to turn off their diesel engines and so reduce emissions. The Norwegian Government’s enterprise responsible for promoting environmentally friendly energy solutions (Enova) has granted financial support to investments in 20 ports.

  • The Government also launched a new Action Plan for Green Shipping in 2019, outlining policies and measures to reduce national emissions of greenhouse gases, strengthen the Norwegian maritime industry and enable the development of the technology needed to reach global environmental goals.

Another action to increase sustainability includes the development of visitor management measures in fragile natural areas by providing information, signage and simple infrastructure. As part of this effort, the Government will market a selection of trails as National Hiking Trails. The objective is to make these trails more robust and accessible, and thus more attractive for travel and business activity. Beyond that, local stakeholders such as municipalities and business communities are encouraged to develop solutions that facilitate and contribute to sustainable value creation.

Fishing tourism is a growing source of income in many coastal communities in Norway. The development of fishing tourism is encouraged as a whole, but it brings some challenges linked to a limited understanding of its extent, and illegal exports of the catch. This leads to pressure on coastal fish stocks and also local conflicts between professional fishermen and the fishing tourism businesses. As a result, in 2018, the Government set up a regulatory framework for fishing tourism with the goal to ensure the sustainable management of fish resources through a better overview and control of fishing tourism. The regulations include a new registration system for fishing tourism companies, a new reporting scheme, and an increase in export quota for guests of registered companies. This framework will be revised by the Government in 2020, in order to improve its functionality. A three-year national research project on fishing tourism is about to be completed, will provide valuable insight into the environmental and the socio-economic impacts of fishing tourism.

Recently, the Government has taken the initiative to develop a national strategy for tourism in Norway. The strategy work will be led by Innovation Norway, in co-operation with a wide range of stakeholders, representing regional authorities, researchers, the tourism industry and others. The goal of the strategy is to ensure a more sustainable and profitable tourism sector in Norway. The final strategy report is due by the end of 2020.

copy the linklink copied!Statistical Profile

copy the linklink copied!
Norway: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND

Domestic tourism

Total domestic trips

..

..

..

..

..

Overnight visitors (tourists)

15 450

13 700

13 840

15 080

18 970

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Nights in all types of accommodation

56 060

48 060

51 840

52 550

63 280

Hotels and similar establishments

11 320

10 720

10 210

10 880

11 480

Other collective establishments

12 990

10 560

17 100 |

15 490

15 220

Private accommodation

32 040

26 790

24 530 |

26 180

36 580

Inbound tourism

Total international arrivals

..

..

..

..

..

Overnight visitors (tourists)

4 842 e

5 304 e

5 960 e

5 845

5 688

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Top markets

Germany

878 e

919 e

1 095 e

894 e

1 150

Sweden

611 e

612 e

679 e

678 e

623

United States

..

..

..

..

487

Netherlands

320 e

338 e

405 e

438 e

435

Denmark

374 e

376 e

402 e

406 e

371

Nights in all types of accommodation

8 154

8 829

9 727

9 949

10 138

Hotels and similar establishments

5 428

6 032

6 627

6 586

6 641

Other collective establishments

2 726

2 796

3 100

3 363

3 497

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Outbound tourism

Total international departures

17 339

16 277

15 733

16 800

16 520

Overnight visitors (tourists)

9 190

8 750

8 030

8 170

8 110

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

8 149

7 527

7 703

8 630

8 410

Top destinations

Sweden

1 478

1 535

1 222

1 363

1 356

Spain

1 234

1 242

1 290

1 359

1 169

Denmark

1 127

937

825

742

882

United Kingdom

676

674

654

571

638

Germany

620

498

452

414

563

TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION NOK

Inbound tourism

Total international receipts

35 131

39 297

43 715

45 974

47 515

International travel receipts

35 131

39 297

43 715

45 974

47 515

International passenger transport receipts

..

..

..

..

..

Outbound tourism

Total international expenditure

116 168

123 315

126 313

134 099

141 022

International travel expenditure

116 168

123 315

126 313

134 099

141 022

International passenger transport expenditure

..

..

..

..

..

.. Not available; e Estimated value; | Break in series

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077597

copy the linklink copied!
Norway: Enterprises and employment in tourism

Number of establishments

Number of persons employed

2017

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

..

..

..

..

..

..

Tourism industries

25 291

156 800

159 100

162 500

166 400 p

..

Accommodation services for visitors

3 287

24 200

25 000

25 200

25 900 p

..

Hotels and similar establishments

1 432

..

..

..

..

..

Food and beverage serving industry

11 361

45 500

46 800

48 900

49 700 p

..

Passenger transport

7 525

50 300

50 500

51 100

52 400 p

..

Air passenger transport

127

7 000

6 800

6 700

6 500 p

..

Railways passenger transport

54

4 600

4 400

4 400

4 400 p

..

Road passenger transport

6 934

28 800

29 400

29 800

31 000 p

..

Water passenger transport

410

9 900

9 900

10 200

10 500 p

..

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental

575

7 200

6 900

6 900

7 100 p

..

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

2 543

5 200

5 500

5 400

5 600 p

..

Cultural industry

..

17 600

17 500

17 900

18 500 p

..

Sports and recreation industry

..

6 800

6 900

7 100

7 000 p

..

Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other country-specific tourism industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

.. Not available; p Provisional data

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077616

copy the linklink copied!
Norway: Internal tourism consumption
Million NOK

2017

Domestic tourism expenditure

Inbound tourism expenditure

Internal tourism consumption

Total

..

..

..

Consumption products

123 986 p

52 632 p

176 618 p

Tourism characteristic products

85 259 p

29 214 p

114 473 p

Accommodation services for visitors

10 006 p

8 350 p

18 357 p

Food and beverage serving services

14 622 p

8 220 p

22 842 p

Passenger transport services

37 279 p

10 465 p

47 743 p

Air passenger transport services

23 650 p

5 987 p

29 636 p

Railways passenger transport services

2 628 p

778 p

3 406 p

Road passenger transport services

4 271 p

717 p

4 988 p

Water passenger transport services

6 730 p

2 983 p

9 713 p

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental services

385 p

308 p

693 p

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

19 791 p

384 p

20 174 p

Cultural services

1 380 p

636 p

2 017 p

Sports and recreation services

1 796 p

851 p

2 647 p

Country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

Country-specific tourism characteristic services

..

..

..

Other consumption products

38 727 p

23 418 p

62 145 p

Tourism connected products

..

..

..

Non-tourism related consumption products

..

..

..

Non-consumption products

..

..

..

.. Not available; p Provisional data

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077635

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

https://doi.org/10.1787/6b47b985-en

© OECD 2020

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at http://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.