Life in Norway Show Episode #54: Satu from travel agency 50 Degrees North talks about future travel trends in Norway, along with the differences between Finland and Norway.
International travel to Norway has been difficult to impossible for more than a year now. But we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. But will tourism trends have changed, and if so, how?
I asked Satu Vänskä-Westgarth from travel agency 50 Degrees North on to the Life in Norway Show to discuss exactly that.
Satu is a Finnish national with a British partner living in Norway, so we also chatted a little about her experiences as a Nordic citizen in Norway.
50 Degrees North offer authentic tours and adventures to Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the High Arctic, the Baltics, Russia and Kamchatka. Although based globally, 90% of the team are native to the Nordic region.
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Slow travel in Norway
Recently, Visit Norway presented an ambitious new tourism strategy that aims to position the country as a leader in green travel. I asked Satu if she thought we might see an increase in slow travel, where people spend more time in one place.
“I think in some ways people will travel more locally, near their own homes. A lot of people have discovered the beauty of their own home. But I do think that there is still a place for longer-haul travel, especially as people have not been able to do that for a while.”
“I really hope that people will think about sustainability as well. We have seen how some of the crowded places have recovered when there's not so big crowds. What we aim to do is that when clients travel with us, maybe they are coming from further away but once they are here, they will leave as little trace as possible.”
Groups tours vs individual experiences
Satu says that they 50 Degrees North have received a lot of interest from people wanting to book private experiences. It remains to be seen whether this is a short-term desire, or a sign of a long-term shift.
Read more: Norway For First-Time Visitors
Living in Norway as a Finnish citizen
I also asked Satu about life in Norway as a foreigner. Coming from another Nordic country, did she feel like a foreigner? “I definitely did!”, she said.
“But these days I've lived in Norway for 10 years so Norway is definitely home. But so is London and Ireland and other places I've lived in.”
Regarding Norway and Finland, Satu said that as fellow Nordic countries, there are a lot of similarities in society, but plenty of differences too, most notably the languages.