The past two years Norway has lost 200.000 overnight hotel stays. The steep decline in the number of tourists from Europe is a consern, says the Director of Tourism in Innovation Norway. The biggest cause of concern is the 14 percent decrease in the number of tourists from Germany and the Netherlands from 2012 to 2013. However, numbers show that there are also fewer visitors from Denmark, Sweden, the U.K. and Southern Europe.
"I am quite worried about Germany and the Netherlands because these are important markets for Norwegian tourism. Germany is, next to Sweden, our biggest market," Tuftin says.
The Director suspects that the financial crisis and lack of new recruitment are the main reasons for why tourists are turning their backs to Norway. Both the Germans and Dutch travel less because their economy is tighter, and when they do travel they choose other destinations.
"The most important in order to turn this trend around is to recruit new tourists. The interest is there, but they are not booking. We need to find out why," Tuftin explains.
In total, Norway lost 1 percent of the number of overnight hotel stays in 2013 according to Statistics Norway. Some of the decline has been weighed up by the many Norwegians who choose to go on vacation in Norway, as well as an increase in Russian and Chinese tourists.
Tuftin is hopeful that a weaker Krone will tempt more tourists to choose Norway in 2014. Throughout 2014 the Norwegian Krone was weakened by 10-14 percent compared to the currencies in Norway's biggest tourism markets.