Solar storms give tourist storms
Never before have so many tourists visited Northern Norway in winter, with nearly 138 000 overnight stays in January. The main attraction is the Aurora Borealis.
Hotels, camping sites and wilderness lodges had in Northern Norway had a total of 137 877 overnight stays in January, more than 23 000 more than in the same month of 2011. Foreigners are behind more than 50 percent of the increase.
Winter tourism is growing in a much faster tempo in Northern Norway than in the rest of the country. The number of overnight stays in Northern Norway went up 19 percent compared to January 2011, while it went up 8 percent in Norway as a whole, NRK reports.
While the number of foreigners visiting Northern Norway in January went up 51 percent compared to January 2011, the general increase in the country was 14 percent.
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Much of the increase can be explained by the huge interest to the Aurora Borealis or northern lights. Because of powerful solar storms the northern lights have been exceptionally strong this winter. Most of the foreign tourists come from English-speaking countries, where the TV documentary “Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights” was a huge success. The documentary led to a quadrupling of requests to the cruise line Hurtigruten’s sales office in London when it was shown for the first time in 2008.
Winter tourism in Northern Norway’s largest town Tromsø is the biggest with a turnover of some NOK 100 million (€ 13.4 million).
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