Tourism in Norway had been booming for a decade. Overnight stays in 2019 increased for the sixth successive year, hitting a new record of 35.2 million guest nights—a figure that excludes private rentals such as AirBnB and the ever increasing number of day visits from cruise ship passengers. Almost 170,000 people work in the tourism sector in Norway, approximately 6.7% of the country’s workforce. Everyone in the industry had expected another record-breaking year. Then came the emergency coronavirus measures implemented to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.
Since March 16, Norway’s borders have essentially been closed to all non-residents. While domestic travel remains possible, the authorities have strongly advised against all but essential travel. The recent ban on overnight stays in cabins and several municipalities introducing quarantine regulations for anyone returning home has brought the travel industry to an unprecedented halt. With the emergency measures extended until April 13, the industry—and its employees—are facing an uncertain future.
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