Outbound travel trends from Norway

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Gran Canaria Tourist Board

Are terrorism and Trump transforming travel habits?

More than half of Norway’s population of 5.5 million people plan to travel abroad this winter, but destination choices are changing, influenced by global phenomena such as the threat of terrorism and the election of Donald Trump as US president.

Fewer Norwegians want to travel to the USA than in previous years, while the UK is now the strongest attraction, reports ScienceNordic. However, terrorist threats are impacting travel habits less this year.

Last year, one in three respondents in a survey by the National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO) commissioned by one of the Nordics’ biggest travel bureaus Ticket, mentioned terrorism as a factor swaying their holiday plans. Now it is one in four.

“This could partly be because many have already changed their travel habits years ago. Far fewer Norwegians now travel to Turkey, but this has already been the case for a few years,” says Ellen Wolff Andresen, head of marketing at Ticket.

Norwegians travelled abroad more than ever this summer, resulting in a 25% rise in outbound travel from the year before. Another record is expected this winter, with travel companies so far seeing a 27% increase in bookings.

Shorter, closer
The trend, though, is more frequent trips but not as far. Weekend city breaks are especially popular. Escalating political turbulence and conflicts around the world are making Norwegians opt for familiar and closer destinations.

The terror attacks in Paris and Nice in 2015 and 2016 were immediately followed by a drop in travel there from Norway, Ellen Wolff Andresen says – but traffic quickly recovered, as soon as a week later in the case of Nice.

Most popular now is London (up 43%), followed by Amsterdam, which has doubled in popularity since last year, then cities like Paris, Manchester, Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence, Berlin, Munich, Lisbon and Nice. But Barcelona is falling, due to the new political instability there.

Trump slump
The study also shows that fewer Norwegians now want to travel to the USA, with Donald Trump listed as the reason influencing 14% of those who were previously considering a trip to there.

“The attitude has remained at the same level since the latest survey, made right after he took office in January this year,” says Wolff Andresen. “Orders for trips to the USA plunged 50% the first two weeks after Trump’s inauguration.”

The USA remains the fourth most popular country for leisure travel this winter. But “a slight drop in the dollar against the Norwegian krone and stable air travel prices have not been enough to compensate for the Trump effect.”

For charter flights from Norway, Gran Canaria is the winner, followed by Thailand, while bookings for Cape Verde are skyrocketing this winter and Vietnam is gaining in popularity. But it is scheduled flights that are fuelling the overall travel growth.

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