11 million fewer guest nights in 2020


23.7 million guest nights were registered in Norway in 2020, a 33 per cent decline compared to the record-year 2019. Hotels were particularly affected by coronavirus restrictions.

Figures from the accommodation statistics shows a sharp decline in guest nights at commercial accommodation establishments in 2020 after six consecutive years of record numbers. Norwegian guest nights declined by 17 per cent, while foreign guest nights declined by 69 per cent. 2020 looked set for another record before pandemic restrictions brought activities to a near standstill in mid-March. Increased Norwegian guest nights in the summer, especially at camping sites and holiday dwellings and youth hostels, did not compensate for the absence of foreigners.

Figure 1. Total guest nights. Change in per cent compared to the same month the year before

June 2019 July 2019 Aug. 2019 Sep. 2019 Oct. 2019 Nov. 2019 Dec. 2019 Jan. 2020 Feb. 2020 March 2020 April 2020 May 2020 June 2020 July 2020 Aug. 2020 Sep. 2020 Oct. 2020 Nov. 2020 Dec. 2020
Hotels 4.46 6.02 5.58 5.14 9.74 7.50 10.20 8.88 11.68 -57.02 -86.55 -77.60 -55.96 -8.95 -41.14 -42.28 -37.81 -61.77 -54.60
Camping sites -1.05 3.88 5.75 0.82 5.50 -0.42 15.76 12.35 10.87 -40.65 -73.45 -7.59 -19.65 4.70 -4.62 -6.45 4.06 -13.87 -8.53
Holiday dwellings and youth hostels -2.25 -1.50 0.97 1.31 10.31 9.12 13.29 11.24 25.80 -43.54 -81.10 -63.85 -53.98 -6.59 -27.80 -6.52 -6.21 -4.15 -21.64

Foreign guest nights were 7.4 million lower than in 2019. This was the main contributor to the decline in total guest nights, as the restrictions were particularly aimed at travel from foreign countries. Nearly 9 out of 10 guest nights in 2020 were domestic. Denmark and Germany accounted for a third of all foreign nights spent, despite decreasing by 22 and 71 per cent. Guest nights from Sweden, the USA and China also fell sharply. Norwegian guest nights fell by 4.1 million.

Figure 2. Percentage change by country of origin, 2019 to 2020

China -94.1
Spain -87.4
France -85.5
United States -78.7
Netherlands -77.8
Germany -71.1
Sweden -64.0
United Kingdom -55.6
Poland -40.9
Finland -28.1
Denmark -21.9
Foreign national, total -69.0
Norway -16.6

Eurostat recently made an overview of important short term indicators and their development during the pandemic.

Loss of foreign guests at hotels and camping sites

Hotels and camping sites were severely affected by the lack of foreign visitors. Foreign guest nights fell by 71 and 72 per cent respectively for hotels and camping sites compared to 2019. The decline at camping sites was softened by a 20 per cent increase in Norwegian guest nights. Norwegians chose domestic holidays as an alternative to travelling abroad in 2020, preferring destinations that offered the possibility for small groups to be together in open spaces.

Regional differences

Viken county had both the highest number of foreign, as well as Norwegian guest nights. Vestland county came second for both domestic and foreign guest nights. The share of foreign guest nights was largest in Svalbard and Troms and Finnmark counties. The smallest shares were in Agder, Vestfold and Telemark counties.

Guest nights halved in December

Guest nights in December 2020 were nearly halved compared to the same month the year before. Hotels were particularly affected, where nights spent were more than half of what they were the previous December. Guest nights fell by 22 per cent for holiday dwellings and youth hostels and by 9 per cent for camping sites.

Quarantine hotels

In order to limit import infection, the Government introduced a quarantine hotel scheme on 5 November 2020. Guidelines affecting quarantine hotels were changed on 13 December. All persons arriving in Norway had to undergo a 10 day quarantine, and if you did not own a home, you were directed to a quarantine hotel. For more information, see the governments’ webpage.

It was not possible to extract all quarantine guest nights. Guest nights spent at quarantine hotels are therefore partially included in the accommodation statistics for December. Hotels exclusively used as quarantine hotels were not included in the statistics for this month. Guests under quarantine cannot freely move outside designated areas and cannot therefore be assigned by purpose as holiday, occupation or course, conference.  This is in line with other European countries’ treatment of such hotels.