Lofoten, Nordkapp, Stranda, Stryn, overtourism, tourism, visitors, numbers, Norway, tax, fee, travel
Photo: Lofoten.info

Norway’s swamped destinations mull tourist tax

Municipalities seeing a rising tide of visitors, like Lofoten, Nordkapp, Stranda and Stryn, say the fee would fund further facilities.

As the issue of ‘overtourism’ continues to be debated in Norway, a new tourist tax is being considered by municipalities containing some of the country’s most popular destinations in order to fund additional facilities for the rising visitor numbers, the left-wing daily newspaper Klassekampen reports.

Six municipalities thinking about bringing in a new tax include Lofoten in Nordland, whose landscapes inspired the animated movie Frozen, Nordkapp in Finnmark, which contains the northernmost point of continental Europe, and scenic locations such as Stranda and Stryn.

The Nordkapp municipality, which includes the famous Nordkapplatået, or North Cape, has 400,000 visitors a year and rising.

“We currently have expenses due to tourism and must have high levels of emergency preparedness in the health service, fire and waste handling,” explains Nordkapp municipality mayor, Kristina Hansen.

“We also need funds to establish common facilities and public toilets, and we would like to decorate the municipality a little to feel cosier and more attentive.”

Collection points
Norway’s parliament ruled last year that it would not introduce a national tourist tax and instead left it open to regional and local authorities to press ahead with it locally if they wished. But exactly how such a tourist tax would be collected is unclear.

One method being considered is to have landing areas at the points of entry, such as airports or quays where ferries and cruise ships dock, according to Klassekampen.

Elisabeth Dreyer, general manager of Destination Lofoten, who prefers the term “visiting fee” to tourist tax, says the charge is currently in the process of being introduced. She thinks the additional income will make it easier to facilitate tourism.

The Lofoten municipality has 25,000 inhabitants but sees nearly one million tourists during the year.

“There is room for everyone here but this needs to be done. We need more than toilets, picnic areas and waste disposal – just teaching tourists how to behave in a field where sheep are grazing is an important issue,” says Dreyer.

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