Moscow tourists want Norwegian adventure
Visa boom to Norway as northern-Norway, the fjords and Oslo allures Russians.
The Norwegian Embassy in Moscow issued 19 percent more visas in 2011 than the year before. In total 31.551.
The trend is more and more individual tourists from Russia travels Norway. There were an eight percent increase at overnight lodging by Russians in Norway last year and the majority comes from the Moscow region.
The Norwegian consulate General in St. Petersburg issued 4.000 visas in 2011. While the Finnish visa-centre in St. Petersburg nearly gave all applicants multi-entry visa, the Norwegians only gave multi-entry visa to 35% of the applicants.
In Moscow, Norway only issued multi-entry visa to 27 percent of all applicants, according to the figures provided by the Embassy to BarentsObserver.
To Norway with visa from Finland
“We consider it likely that many travels to Norway with Finnish visas,” says the Norwegian Consul General in St. Petersburg Rune Aasheim to BarentsObserver.
"Our portfolio is dominated by family and friends visit, various cultural exchanges and business," says Aasheim.
Only 0,93 percent of the St. Petersburg applicants were denied visa to Norway last year. In Moscow, 0,7 of all applications were rejected, while Murmansk has fewest rejections with 0,3 last year. In other words; nearly everyone that want visa to Norway gets it.
The tendency that Russians travel to Norway with visa from Finland is not unique for St. Petersburg. BarentsObserver has earlier reported that even citizens in the near-border town of Nikel find it easier to obtain a Finnish visa, although their primary destination is Norway.
The Embassy in Moscow estimates that some 65 percent of people that obtained visa to Norway were tourists, while the rest are traveling on business, visiting friends or participate in joint cooperation projects
Olga Philippenko, responsible for tourist marketing of Norway in Moscow does already have the plans for 2012 ready. “We believe fishing vacation in Norway has an enormous potential, so that’s what we go for,” says Philippenko. She also hope to see the first charter flights directly to Tromsø in northern Norway this summer.
In total, the Norwegian visa sections in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Murmansk issued 56.280 visas in 2011.