Nourishing the Spirit of Norway with Responsible Tourism

In a world where the tourism industry faces numerous challenges, Visit Norway stands as a beacon of innovation and responsible travel.

Guided by the National Tourism Strategy 2030, Visit Norway has embarked on a journey to attract the right kind of tourists at the right time of year, those who will not only enrich their own experiences but also contribute to Norway's well-being and environmental preservation.

Guided by the National Tourism Strategy 2030, Visit Norway has embarked on a journey to attract the right kind of tourists at the right time of year, those who will not only enrich their own experiences but also contribute to Norway's well-being and environmental preservation.

Christine Baglo and Jørgen Flo from Visit Norway discussed how to promote Norway sustainably. In a world where the tourism industry faces numerous challenges, from over-tourism to sustainability concerns, Visit Norway has emerged as a beacon of innovation and responsible travel.

Guided by the National Tourism Strategy 2030, Visit Norway has embarked on a journey to attract the right kind of tourists at the right time of year, those who will not only enrich their own experiences but also contribute to Norway's well-being and environmental preservation. The organisation's key principles: Hero, Help and Hub serve as a guiding framework, ensuring that every aspect of their efforts aligns with their overarching mission.


Sustainable Tourism Strategy


The tourism industry has a significant impact on society, affecting cultural development, the natural environment and the national economy. Visit Norway is committed to mitigating the negative impacts of tourism and supporting sustainable development in the tourism sector. To achieve this, they are implementing a sustainable tourism strategy that focuses on attracting high-value tourists, promoting responsible travel practices and minimising the environmental impact of tourism. This strategy has several key objectives:


  • Increase value creation: By focusing on attracting high-value tourists, Visit Norway is prioritising quality over quantity. These visitors tend to spend more money, stay longer and as a result contribute more to the economy. By catering to their interests, Visit Norway attracts a more discerning visitor base that is willing to pay for unique and authentic experiences. This is pivotal for job creation and economic growth in local communities across the country.
  • Enhance job creation: Tourism is a major source of employment in Norway and Visit Norway is playing a key role in ensuring that these jobs are spread throughout the country and are year-round. By promoting responsible tourism practices and encouraging tourists to stay longer, Visit Norway is helping to create more jobs in rural areas and during off-season periods.
  • Improve guest satisfaction: Visit Norway aims to ensure that tourists have a positive and memorable experience in Norway. By promoting authentic experiences in lesser-known regions, Visit Norway is helping to create a more sustainable and enjoyable tourism experience.
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by 50%: Tourism is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and Visit Norway is taking a leadership role in addressing this issue. By promoting sustainable travel practices, such as using public transportation, eating local food and staying in energy-efficient accommodations, Visit Norway is helping to mitigate the environmental impact of tourism and preserve Norway's natural beauty for future generations. The DMO is supporting this through the development of a carbon calculator that displays the balance between carbon footprints and the economic value of visitors from different regions.
  • Preserving natural beauty and cultural heritage: DMOs are often renowned for their unique natural features and cultural heritage. When these destinations are overexploited by tourism, they can suffer irreversible damage, leading to the loss of their natural beauty and the erosion of their cultural identity. By promoting sustainable tourism practices, Visit Norway is helping to ensure that these valuable assets are preserved for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.


Visit Norway's Growth Strategy


Visit Norway's strategy hinges on the concept of "great experiences with a small footprint". To achieve this goal, Visit Norway has embraced a multi-pronged approach, employing innovative marketing strategies and leveraging technology to reach its target audience. They've moved away from traditional big-budget campaigns to an always-on approach, focusing instead on creating evergreen content that resonates with potential visitors.


To exemplify their evergreen content strategy, Visit Norway crafted a unique video sketch centred on Norwegian footballing sensation Erling Haaland. This cleverly executed campaign subtly highlighted Haaland's hometown while injecting a touch of humour. The low-budget initiative proved immensely successful, garnering over 573,000 views in under five months. Furthermore, by leveraging Haaland's news coverage, Visit Norway extended the campaign's lifespan, maximising its impact.



5 ways Visit Norway are achieving this strategy:  


  1. Hero, Help, Hub: Focus on creating captivating hero content that captures attention, providing helpful information and directing visitors to the Visit Norway website, which acts as a hub for further exploration, with over 800 editorial articles translated into nine languages.
  2. Evergreen Content: Prioritise the creation of high-quality, authentic content that remains relevant and valuable over time, avoiding high-cost, short-lived campaigns.
  3. Strategic Storytelling: Develop engaging and impactful content that resonates with target audiences, ensuring consistency across all channels while maintaining a unique brand identity.
  4. Content Gathering Pool: Establish a comprehensive library of high-quality stock images and videos to efficiently supply content across various channels.
  5. Real-Time Response Content: Capitalise on trending topics and current events to create timely and relevant content that captures attention and generates engagement.

Reimagining the DMO Website


Visit Norway is widely considered one of the leading NTOs globally, as recognised by recently winning the Transformation Award at X. Awards 2023 for the transformative redesign of their website. A central aspect of this was the innovative transition to a headless CMS, an approach that is extremely efficient considering the demanding content needs of today's omni-channel world. Since the new site launch, traffic to the site was up 19% year on year, with 92% of traffic being organic. Additionally, the approach enables the DMO to undertake front-end development internally to pioneer new innovations, such as a new trip planner tool that is in a soft launch phase.


With between 70-80% of web traffic coming from mobile devices, the DMO ensured their redesigned website was mobile-optimised, showing the value of utilising data to improve service offerings. Visit Norway has pioneered a 'scrollytelling' feature that displays content in a more immersive, inspirational and visually appealing way to engage users. This has been achieved through hybrid articles where the text and visuals blend together so that users can watch the story unfold. Through this feature a notable increase in the length of user dwell times, showing how optimising the format of content makes a big difference in maximising the length of time visitors stay on websites. This website redesign and technical modernisation has enhanced the user experience, leading to increased engagement and satisfaction. Check out full details of Norway's website redevelopment in our article "The DMO Website Reimagined".

Results

Visit Norway's sustainable tourism strategy has yielded positive results, including:

  1. Increased organic views: Organic views on Visit Norway's content has increased from 24% in 2021 to 33% in 2023 on all channels.
  2. Sustainable growth: Despite tighter budgets, Visit Norway has experienced a 19% increase in website traffic, with 92% organic traffic.
  3. Promoted job growth: The responsible tourism strategy helps create longer lasting jobs in rural areas even through off seasons.

Key Takeaways

  • Focus on quality over quantity: Attract high-value tourists who contribute more to the local economy and minimise the environmental impact.
  • Embrace authentic storytelling: Create engaging and relatable content that showcases the true essence of the destination.
  • Optimise organic reach: Utilise organic marketing strategies to generate sustainable and cost-effective traffic.
  • Prioritise user experience: Provide a seamless and enjoyable user experience across all digital platforms.
  • Invest in technology: Upgrade technology infrastructure to support growth and enhance user experience.
Published on:
December 2023
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