At a press meet-up dedicated to Scandinavian tourism actors in Paris, Innovation Norway presented its objectives for 2023. Léa Pinsard, Market Specialist Tourism France, and Luca Bocci, Head of Corporate/MICE Southern Europe, shared the actions undertaken by their agency to promote the Nordic country’s leisure and MICE offers.
Last year, Norway returned to pre-Covid levels after it recorded an increase of 2% in visitors, compared to 2019. The concept of friluftsliv, or “love of the outdoors”, has played a central role in this.
The major driving force behind these positive results was the country’s leisure offer. Hiking, mountain biking, sailing and, of course, a myriad of winter sports, including skiing and snowshoeing, attract visitors from across Europe to explore Norway’s fjords and wild, open spaces.
A principal aim for the coming year will be the promotion of lesser-visited destinations in the country, with a particular focus on the North. Sustainability, a subject in which Norway aims to become the world leader, and leisure will be key in realising this ambition.
Experiences like Hurtigruten, a boat trip along the country’s northern coastline, and attractions such as the Northern Lights will be put to the forefront to encourage visitors to explore more and more destinations.
A B2C media campaign targeting Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and eventually TikTok will be deployed this year. Its actions include Springfulness, which will launch next week with the aim of extending the Norwegian tourist season into spring.
Another such initiative is an open competition, which invites candidates to explain in a video why they should be selected for a trip to Norway. The three winners will be invited to explore the north of the country and record their experiences.
Norway’s MICE offer seduces Southern Europe
MICE is the second major arm of attack that Norway seeks to exploit to attract ever more visitors. Currently its top three markets for this segment are France, Spain, and Italy. Just like for leisure, the country relies on its sustainability initiatives and unique leisure activities to attract MICE clients.
The Norwegian government has made “huge” investments to boost the ecological transition of its industry actors over the last 7 or 8 years.
In keeping with this, Innovative Norway partners almost exclusively with service providers that have strong eco credentials, e.g. companies using electric snowmobiles or boats as part of their entertainment/leisure offer for MICE visitors.
The proximity between leisure and business facilities is the main tool Norway will use to distinguish itself from the competition in the segment. Luca Bocci gave the unusual example of floating saunas as a reason to visit the country.
They exist right across the kingdom, from Oslo to the fjords. He explained that business visitors can leave a meeting room, take a break in a floating sauna, plunge into the icy water outside the sauna, return to the heat, and then be back to the seminar inside 30 minutes.
A large-scale MICE promotion campaign is being rolled out by the country. As an example, a B2B study trip for operators will be hosted this June in Svalbard. Later in the year in October, Trondheim will also host a workshop aimed at actors from the MICE market. Finally, a promotional video called Meet in Norway will also be unveiled.