Guest nights close to a normal level in July


Total guest nights in July this year were almost as many as guest nights in July 2019, after several months of a dramatic decline. This was driven by a 39 per cent increase in Norwegian guest nights. There are, however, regional differences, with low activity in some counties and increased guest nights in others.

Figures from the accommodation statistics show there were approximately 6.4 million guest nights at commercial accommodation establishments in July this year, a 3.1 per cent decrease compared to July 2019. Norwegian guest nights increased by 39 per cent while foreign guest nights dropped by 79 per cent.

Measures introduced in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus had dramatic consequences on commercial accommodation establishments. As the restrictions were mostly concerning the lack of foreign tourism, this had a impact on total guest nights in July, which normally is a popular month for foreign travellers.

Figure 1. Total guest nights in July by nationality

July 2010 July 2011 July 2012 July 2013 July 2014 July 2015 July 2016 July 2017 July 2018 July 2019 July 2020
Foreign 1827549 1828424 1753355 1572970 1645886 1803581 2048438 2132043 2177784 2333013 480916
Norway 3493636 3547528 3523224 3528677 3725417 3839951 4157026 4081999 4111511 4242158 5890153

Increased Norwegian guest nights

There was an increase in Norwegian guest nights in all accommodation types in July this year compared to July last year. Norwegian guest nights increased by 35 per cent at hotels, 40 per cent at camping sites and 65 per cent at holiday dwellings and youth hostels. Foreign guest nights were however four times as many in July as in June. Most of these foreign guests were from Denmark, Germany and Finland.

Hotels still affected

There was a decrease by 9.0 per cent of guest nights at Norwegian hotels in July 2020 compared to July 2019 because foreign guest nights were absent. This was especially seen in Oslo and other big cities and regions that depend on foreign tourists.

Increase at camping sites persists

Norwegian guest nights at camping sites increased by 40 per cent in July this year compared to July 2019. July is traditionally a popular month for foreign tourists, and Norwegian tourists have replaced them in many parts of the country. The largest increase in guests nights at camping sites were in Viken and Norland counties, while the biggest decrease was in Vestland county.

Increased uncertainty for July

Due to closed guest establishments and layoffs, the response rate is lower than usual this month. The response rate for July 2020 was 91 per cent, compared to 97 per cent in July 2019. This causes more uncertainty in the figures. Significant effort has been put into determining whether non-reporting establishments were closed or open. Establishments were treated as open where we did not get a response, with estimated values, leading to increased uncertainty. This approach is in line with recommendations from both Eurostat and OECD.

It is important that all countries agree on a standard during this pandemic to ensure comparability between countries. This is how we usually treat unreported establishments, but it can lead to publishing of numbers that are somewhat higher than in reality.