Due to pandemic restrictions, it has been difficult to compare the development in guest nights directly with the same period the previous year. This is no longer the case, and the result is a modest increase in guest nights at accommodation establishments. The increase was 2.2 per cent compared with March 2022. Behind this figure, however, major differences are hidden. Norwegian guest nights were roughly unchanged, while foreign guest nights rose by 9.3 per cent.

Guest nights at hotels boost the industry 

While short-term holiday dwellings, camping sites, and youth hostels had a decrease in guest nights of 5.7 per cent, guest nights at hotels increased by 4.4 per cent. For both types of accommodation, Norwegian guest nights increased by 0.2 per cent. Foreign guest nights decreased by 17 per cent for short-term holiday dwellings, camping sites, and youth hostels, and increased as much as 23 per cent for hotels.

– What we are really seeing is that the number of foreign guest nights at hotels is approaching the level we had before the pandemic, says advisor Guro Henriksen at Statistics Norway.

In March 2019, there were 431,000 foreign hotel stays. In March 2022, this figure was only 328,000, even though the last restrictions were lifted in February 2022.

– This indicates that it took some time for foreign guests to respond to the changes. Although we now see a significant increase compared to last year, there were only 405,000 foreign guest nights in hotels in March this year, which is still slightly lower than in 2019, says Guro Henriksen.

Figure 1. Guest nights at hotels by country of residence. March 2019-2023

In accordance with definitions from Eurostat, refugees should be excluded from tourism statistics and not be considered as guests in the context of tourism statistics when they stay at a tourist accommodation establishment. Refugees from Ukraine cannot be assigned by purpose as holiday, occupation or course, conference. It was not possible to extract all refugees guest nights and some stays are included in the statistics. For accommodation establishments that have more than 25 guest nights from Ukraine during the month, the guest nights have been removed from the statistic. Establishments that are exclusively hosting refugees are not included in the statistics.