Winter tourism surges

Skiing in Lyngsalpene i Troms is a marvellous experience between high mountain peaks and the Arctic ocean. Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen

Tour operators in the Barents region experience a high influx of ready-to-spend tourists. New trends are tourists willing to pay a higher price for niche products like Arctic winter tourism.


Morten Torp, Vinter Troms AS, explains that winter tourists at average spend three times more per stayed day than summer tourists.

“Hotels in Northern Norway now have a higher number of filled beds in winter time than in summer. That is because the region offers what few other destinations can; a mix of winter and ocean. Only the Barents region, Alaska and Iceland are competing for tourists looking for experiences like these”, says Morten Torp.

The niche of Arctic winter tourism is booming as the world opens its eyes for the combination of winter, ocean and northern lights. This reveals opportunities ready to be ceased by the travel industry.
One company that currently are exploiting these opportunities are Boreal Yachting, a company in organic growth, and currently one of Scandinavia’s leading sail charter and adventure companies, located in Tromsø and Svolvær, in Northern Norway.

Espen Bertelsen explains that the company is taking advantage of the premises given by nature in the High North.

“Northern Norway offers a great opportunity to combine Arctic conditions and maritime traditions with our littoral areas that offer a great range of possible activities. I.e. ski and sail, northern light sailing and even whale safari.  We believe that a transition is happening in the travel industry and that we will be able to serve the coming demand”.

The shift Bertelsen is preparing for, and even experiences already, is that tourist are willing to pay a higher premium for experiences out of the ordinary. An example Bertelsen often uses; “Who wouldn’t want to come home to their friends and family and tell about the great combination of beautiful sailings along the coast of Lofoten and skiing down the Lyngen Alps toward the clean Arctic fjords? People will pay a premium for an experience like that.”

Boreal Yachting arranges trips along the North-Norwegian coast and even up to Svalbard. Bertelsen is participating in a project called Young Innovative Entrepreneurs and he is now looking towards Russia.

“We know that there could be a great increase in Russian tourist heading to  Northern Norway if we manage to supply them with the exotic Arctic experiences they demand”, Bertelsen says before he reveals his dream of also being able to offer trips to clients interested in  set sail for Russia’s Franz Josef Land in the future.