More guest nights at camping sites


The timing of Easter increased the number of guest nights at camping sites and holiday dwellings in March this year compared to March 2020. The guest nights are camping sites were higher than even in the “normal year” of 2019. The downward trend with decreased guest nights in hotels continued.

Figures from the accommodation statistics show that there were approximately 960 000 guest nights at the Norwegian commercial accommodation establishments in March, a 6.3 percent decrease compared to March last year. For the hotels, the decline in guest nights continued, but a solid increase at camping sites and holiday dwellings, softened the decline. After a year with measures to stop the ongoing pandemic, the decline in the total number of guest nights continued throughout March.

Figure 1. Guest nights, by type. Change in per cent compared to the same month the year before

Sept. 2019 Oct. 2019 Nov. 2019 Dec. 2019 Jan. 2020 Feb. 2020 Mar. 2020 Apr. 2020 May. 2020 Jun. 2020 Jul. 2020 Aug. 2020 Sep. 2020 Oct. 2020 Nov. 2020 Dec. 2020 Jan. 2021 Feb. 2021 Mar. 2021
Hotels 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 -64.16 -64.60 -23.00
Camping sites 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 -6.81 -6.58 98.44
Holiday dwellings and youth hostels 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 -39.69 -39.78 30.39

Closer to normal at the camping sites

There were about 171,000 overnight stays at Norwegian camping sites in March, almost doubling from March last year. There were about 92 000 more Norwegian guest nights, while foreign ones were reduced by 7000. Compared with previous periods, there were more overnight stays in March this year than there were in both March in 2019 and in 2017, in both these years Easter fell in April. More Norwegian guest nights contributed to the increase. Foreign overnight stays declined as a result of stricter entry restrictions in March compared to the restrictions in March last year.

From mid-March 2020, many of the camping sites had to close down when several Corona restrictions were introduced. In March this year, far more camping sites were open throughout the month, which contributed to the sharp increase. Another contributing factor for the increase was that the first part of Easter fell in March this year, while it was in April last year. The timing of Easter had a significant impact on the accommodation figures.

Figure 2. Overnight stays at camping sites for March

March 2010 March 2011 March 2012 March 2013 March 2014 March 2015 March 2016 March 2017 March 2018 March 2019 March 2020 March 2021
Norway 259117 178012 197436 271579 160002 200757 235620 116546 208992 124580 74130 165952
Foreign national total 24287 27396 28240 18492 18894 17842 21181 22394 25043 20827 12172 5303

The downward trend for hotels continues

After a year with Corona restrictions, the decline in guest nights at hotels continued. There were approximately 633 000 guest nights at Norwegian hotels in March this year, a 23 per cent decline compared to March the previous year. There were 52 000 fewer Norwegian guest nights and 133 000 fewer foreign.

Most counties saw a decline in guest nights, the exceptions being the counties on the west coast. Rogaland and Møre og Romsdal had an increase of 14 and 5.3 per cent, respectively, while Vestland remained unchanged.

Eurostat has an overview of important short-term indicators and their development during the pandemic.

Quarantine hotels

In order to limit import infection, the Government introduced a quarantine hotel scheme on 5 November 2020. Guidelines have changed several times, the latest 26th of March. The rule is still that those who come to Norway are obliged to complete the quarantine period in quarantine hotels, but changes were made in which groups are exempt from this obligation and how long they must stay in quarantine hotels. 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 March. 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 quarantine hotels.