Norway has increased its numbers of Chinese tourists this year, the travel industry unit of Norwegian employers’ organisation NHO reports. That might be a sign of that the Chinese tourism boycott of Norway is fading away, a Norwegian website reports.
The increase in Chinese tourists in Norway, reported by the travel industry unit of employers’ organization NHO, has helped boost an otherwise lacklustre summer tourist season that’s been hit by economic problems in Europe.
“This is good news for Norwegian tourism,” Jostein Hansen, acting director of NHO Reiseliv, told newspaper Aftenposten. Never before has Norway received so many tourists from China than this year.
According to the English-language Newsinenglish.no Norway has been seeing strong growth in tourism from China, where rising affluence and easier access to passports have resulted in many more Chinese travelling abroad. Last year, however, there was a marked downturn, after Chinese tour operators in some areas of the country stopped selling or promoting tours to Norway because of lingering anger over the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident in 2010.
Norwegian officials don’t think the Chinese boycott is officially over, “but it’s not being as enforced as last year,” Per-Arne Tuftin of Innovation Norway told Aftenposten. State statistics bureau SSB reported that Chinese visitors accounted for nearly 45,000 overnight stays in Norway during the first half of this year, more than double the amount in 2010.
Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, meanwhile, has said that Norwegian officials have been receiving some “positive signals” from China, as the diplomatic freeze between Beijing and Oslo starts to melt, the website reports.
“We have a dialogue with China about putting earlier disagreements behind us, and that continues,” Eide told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) recently. “But we agree not to reveal the contents of the dialogue until we’ve reached our goal.”
Eide also noted to DN that China has “a capable ambassador here” in Norway, who is contributing to the “dialogue” between the countries, after nearly three years of virtually no contact at top government levels. Asked whether the tone between Norway and China has improved, Eide said, “yes, it at least hasn’t gotten any worse.”