– We are talking about an increase in turnover of 20-30 percent over the commodity last year. We expect to hit our full-year revenue budget of NOK 35 million already during the month of July. So that sounds very good, says Eric Bryn Geckling, general manager of Eliasin Rohrbur, Lofoten’s largest stonecutter facility with more than 400 beds.
Usually half of the guests are from outside. This year, the shares will be much higher.
Gikling also owns the 26-room Phillipshaugen Lodge in Sunndal in northwest Norway, which was built by British aristocrat Ethelbert Lort Phillips in 1899. Here, the turnover increase from last year is 150 percent — boosted by foreign guests.
Nils Henrik Gittel in De Historiske believes that the exchange rate of the Norwegian krone, which has weakened by about 20 percent in the past year against both the euro and the dollar, is only one of several explanations. The chain has nearly 90 hotels and restaurants as members.
– temperature in southern Europe Our green and lush nature is also seducing more and more people in the north. It’s safe here. Just look at France now where people run amok in the streets. Obviously, such things scare away tourists, he said.
– Don’t you dare say it
In Bergen, at the 65-room boutique hotel Opus XVI near the fish market, named after Edvard Grieg’s most famous work, many days are already sold out for summer. Even the smallest rooms cost from NOK 4,000 until July for late arrivals. The stands, which cost from around NOK 10,000 and up, go on sale every third day in July.
– There’s very good pressure in the city here right now. Both occupancy and prices are increasing. We’re quickly talking about a 30 percent increase in guest numbers and an average price of NOK 1,000 higher per room compared to the same time last year. It’s so good, says owner and manager Alexander Grieg, that I can hardly dare say it.
Kjetil Smørås, owner of the small hotel chain De Bergenske, which includes, among others, the Bergen Børs and Augustin hotels, is also looking to get in on the action this summer.
– We have significant growth in the private sector and expect occupancy of 95 per cent and room rates 20 per cent higher. So income-wise, there’s no doubt this will be the best summer ever in Bergen, he says.
Large hotel chains nationwide are also experiencing significant growth.
– We’re heading into a record summer and we’re seeing far more rooms being booked than at the same time last year. In recent weeks, the increase in bookings has been 40 percent in Norway. The most popular destinations are already starting to fill up, says Barr Augustsson, director of Petter A. Stordalen’s Strawberry Series (formerly Nordic Choice Hotels).
Thon Hotels’ competitor reports are the same.
– Summer for us is seeing very good momentum from north to south with growth of 20-25 per cent through 2022, driven by more guests and higher prices. So it’s heading for new records, says CEO Morten Thorvaldsen.
Great improvement at Petter Stordalen Hotels – over half a billion profit before taxes
The best in 40 years
For Fjord Tours, known in particular for its round-trip Norway short in Western Norway, the increase in bookings from last year was 70 percent — and 18 percent from 2019, the year before the pandemic.
– 2019 was the best year in the company’s 40-year history, says Christian Jorgensen. He is the Managing Director of the Vy and Fjord1 owned company.
94 percent of bookings are from foreign guests, and Jørgensen says there has been significant growth in both tours, transportation, activities and accommodations.
– The US is now our largest market with a 28 percent increase in bookings over 2019. He adds that other countries that have seen significant growth are Canada, Sweden, Germany, France, Australia, Thailand and the Middle East.
Compared to 2019, orders from Europe (excluding the Nordic countries) are increasing by up to 51 percent.
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Spend more money
New figures from Statistics Norway for May show that it is foreigners, aided by a weaker krone exchange rate, who are ensuring hotel growth with 105,000 more guest nights than in the same month last year. This represents an increase of 30 percent and a new record in May.
But at the same time, the number of nights spent by Norwegian guests decreased by the same amount. Alexander Grieg at Opus XVI in Bergen noticed the same trend for the rest of the summer as well.
– I estimate that 70 percent of our guests are Americans. Then 25 percent are guests from other countries, mainly Europe, while only 5 percent are Norwegians. We might have been expecting a larger proportion of Norwegian guests, but that likely has to do with the fact that Americans book so early and take up a lot of capacity, he says.
This may also be a result of the fact that economic realities are about to sink in among Norwegians. A Travel Pulse survey conducted by Virke earlier this spring showed that every household plans to spend NOK 36,250 on holiday this year. This is NOK 6,400 less than last year.
Norwegians suffer from the cold of travel: – Many places left unusually cheap
But if the number of Norwegian hotel guests does not increase, this will be more than compensated for by foreigners spending more money than before.
– Although there aren’t any exact numbers available on this yet, we do see that guests are spending more money on experiences and restaurant visits, says Eric Bryn Jickling in Lofoten.
– Experiments and luxury goods seem to be more affordable in Norway now, says Kjetil Smørås in Bergen and tells of an American guest who last week put a bottle of the legendary Romané-Conti 2012 red wine at the tidy price of 120,000 in his hotel bill.
– I think he got a lot for his money, says Smørås.
Is it good to be Danish?
For the June-August summer season, Color Line reported a 20 percent increase in Danish guests over last year — and a 25 percent increase from before the pandemic. From the Netherlands, the growth is 25 percent, and Germans are also coming in much larger numbers than last year.
– the image is clear. Far more Europeans are now applying to Norway. Currency plays an important role, as does the heat in Europe and bad times. It’s a very positive thing for us and the rest of Norway’s tourism industry,” says Communications Director Erik Brynhildsbacken.
The desire to travel has never been greater, according to Aase Marthe Horrigmo, Director of Tourism at Innovation Norway.
– It’s a tough fight for European tourists, and we’re not a cheap holiday country after all. Of course, the coin discount is a very positive contribution, but I also think we’re now getting the impact that we’ve been good at marketing ourselves. Measured by the number of nights of commercial foreign guests, it’s possible that we’re still not quite back to the 2019 level, but that’s primarily due to the fact that we’re nowhere near the same volume of Asia as we were before the pandemic. Among other things, China is not yet open to group travel, she says.
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