Although the number of calls dropped slightly, totalling 376, the ships sailing north have become steadily larger as older ships are phased out. An average of 1,118 passengers (+16%) were on board the cruise ships which sailed to Northern Norway this year.
60% of the cruise traffic went to the region’s two largest ports, Tromsø and North Cape.
‘However, what’s particularly pleasing is that the increase is spread over almost all ports in Northern Norway with Alta and Harstad as the clear winners. Among the largest ports, Tromsø stands out with a 23% increase. Tromsø was the most visited port in Northern Norway in 2017, while North Cape a solid second,’ says md of Cruise Northern Norway and Svalbard (CNNS), Erik Joachimsen.
‘We believe the good figures for Northern Norway and Svalbard can be attributed to several factors, including the fear of terrorism in Europe and the favourable Norwegian currency,’ he added.
‘While it’s obviously not a happy development that the fear of terror is forcing tourists further north, it’s a reality of the current situation,’ he remarked.
Joachimsen said, ‘On the other hand, it’s good news for the export industry, of which tourism is a part, that the Norwegian krone is weak against foreign currencies. However, we believe the main factor for the growth is that we have a good product with beautiful scenery and popular activities along the entire coastline.’
Looking ahead 2018 is ‘exciting’ according to Jaochimsen with the establishment of a turnaround port in Lakselv providing completely new opportunities for the whole region, he remarked.