Travel survey

Updated: 24 February 2023

Next update: 26 May 2023

Change in number of trips
Change in number of trips
4th quarter 2021 - 4th quarter 2022

About the statistics

The travel survey covers a sample of the Norwegian populations travels both within Norway and abroad. The survey covers both holiday and business trips. The survey is based on interviews on a representative sample of the Norwegian population between 16-79 years old. Statistics Norway conducts these surveys on a quarterly basis.

The travel survey collects several levels of travels; the number of travels, the number of people travelling (tourists), and expenditures on travels. The number of travels can be summarized quarterly, but the number of people travelling cannot be summarized quarterly, as one person may have travelled in different months of the year.

Tourists: In the travel survey, the individual answers only on behalf of themselves, and do not include members of a family, even though they might have joined the trip.

Trip: One trip is one trip outside the main home, with minimum 1 night spent, regardless of the purpose of the trip.

Types of trips:

Short trip: a trip between 1 and 3 nights spent.

Long trip: a trip with more than 4 nights spent.

Holiday trips: Travels made by tourists on their own leisure time, regardless of the type of accommodation. This might be both to commercial establishments and to relatives and friends.

Business trip: A trip taken to complete work outside the main home.

A trip might be a combination of the two, where the main purpose of the trip defines which type of trip this is classified as.

Domestic: a trip within the national borders.

Outbound: a trip outside the national borders. The trip might be both domestic and outbound, where the main purpose of the trip defines the type of trip.

Types of accomodation

Hotels and similar establishments: hotels, hotel apartments, Bed & breakfast etc.

Tourist campsites: campsites, caravan or trailer park (non-residential).

Other Commercial accommodation: Huts, apartments, unstaffed tourist huts, youth hostels, etc.

Non-commercial accommodation: own holiday home, accommodation provided without charge by relatives or friends, other non-rented.

Type of accommodation not specified: not specified.

Mode of transport

Plane: regular flights, charter flights, incl. helicopter flights.

Boats, ferries, cruise, Leisure boats

Coach and scheduled bus


Car, motorcycle, camper etc. : Includes both owned and rented

Other: On foot, skies, bicycle etc.

Type of trip




Cruise ship


Country: The travel survey publishes yearly figures with the 30 most visited countries by Norwegians. The reference year is 2019. Quarterly figures are published on the 6 most visited countries. The list of countries is not planned to be updated.

Night spent: If a tourist has spent one night away from home, regardless of the person sleeping or not.

Expenditures: Expenditures used on transport, accommodation, food, drinks, goods and other related to the trip.

Classification of region:

Classification of type of destination:

Name: Travel survey
Topic: Transport and tourism

26 May 2023

Seksjon for næringslivets konjunkturer

National and regional

Quarterly, published eight weeks after the reference quarter

Eurostat, UN and OECD

Not relevant

To sample the span of Norwegian households’ transactions abroad, the travel survey covers the transactions made when nights have been spent abroad. For day trips, the cross-border trade surveys the transactions.

The development is measured on the variables mentioned in the definitions. Figures from before 2002 have been removed due to significant errors

The statistics is used by the Innovation Norway (former Norwegian Tourist Board), organizations within the trade, Research Institutes and International organizations like Eurostat. The figures are also of great interest to the public, and therefore the media is an important user. Internally, the national accounts are the main users.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

The travel Survey covers all types of trips with at least 1 overnight stay. There is a comparability to the accommodation statistics, who covers all commercial establishments. The cross-border trade survey covers day trips.

The Statistics Act § 2-1 (voluntary)

"REGULATION (EU) No 692/2011 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 6 July 2011 concerning European statistics on tourism and repealing Council Directive 95/57/EC."

Statistics covers a sample of the Norwegian population in the age group 16 - 79 years, and their trips lasting at least 1 night, independent of the purpose of the trip. Expressions such as Norwegians, us and ours and similar used in publications does not have anything to do with citizenships, but people resident in Norway.

The Population register in combination with telephone interview/CATI.

The travel survey is carried out among 2 000 Norwegians between 16 and 79 years of age. New sample is drawn every quarter.

Interview (telephone)/CATIonce every quarter

A computer is used during the interview. The interviewer reads the questions aloud from the screen and the answers are registered instantly. This allows the data to be controlled immediately, and it reduces the risk of asking the interviewee wrong questions.

The data is meant to represent the whole Norwegian population in the age group 16-79 years, not only the sample. To calculate totals, the data is grouped in four age groups (16-24 years, 25-44 years, 45-66 years and 67-79 years) and sex. Variables like number of tourists, number of trips, number of nights spent, and tourist expenditure is multiplied by a factor, which is define as the size of the population in the current strata divided by number of respondents in the same strata.

Not relevant

Not relevant

Travel Survey was established in 2002 and carried out on quarterly basis since then. The definition of quarters was changed and adapted to the calendar quarters in 2004. These changes have probably not caused lack of comparability.

Figures for holiday trips were produced between 2002 – 2007. This was discontinued due to the overlapping information in the travel survey. Time series for holiday trips can be found under «Closed time series” in the Statbank.

Number of tourists: The statbank displays the number of tourists that have been travelling for the quarter, distributed by gender, age and type of travel. The time series are completed from 2002 and onwards.

Number of trips: the tables in statbank shows the number of trips that has been completed during the relevant quarter. For trips by type of trip and accommodation, the time series are completed from 2002. For the number of trips by type of transport and destination, there are completed time series from 2008 and 2013, respectively.

Expenditures: figures for expenditures on different types of trips has time series from 2002 and onwards.

Trips to selected destinations: In 2005, the travel survey started to publish quarterly figures for number of trips to the six most visited countries, and they have been continued to this day. In addition, there are yearly figures from 2016 to the 30 most visited countries.

The share of population on trips: The figures shows the share of the population that has been on a trip either in Norway or abroad. The time series starts from 2013.

We can estimate the different phenomenon’s in a large group travel surveys by a representative sample of the entire population. This saves a lot of resources, both internally both also to the public. However, it does increase the uncertainty of data, compared to the case where the quarterly interviews are conducted on the entire population. In a sample survey, there quality of the data is determined by several factors, and we can not guarantee that all errors are discovered. The sources of errors may be attributed to two main factors.

  1. Errors linked to who we interview – including sampling errors, coverage errors and errors of non-response.
  2. Errors linked to what we ask in the interview – including measurement errors and processing errors.

The uncertainty linked to the errors in a) are possible to estimate and are published together with the quarterly analysis.

Sampling errors occur when the distribution of certain distinctions is different within the sample compared to the population. This error occurs due to randomness in the sampling and causes the sample to not be representative to the population. The sampling for the travel survey is conducted in a way such that there are no sampling errors related to the distribution of age, gender and location. After each quarterly sampling is conducted, tables are produced in to ensure that the risk of sampling errors are minimized.

Coverage errors occurs when the sample group of the survey does not define the population. In the travel survey, this may be due people who have died or moved abroad for more than six months. The sample left after these have been taken out, are called the gross sample.

Errors of non-respondents. There will always be persons who, by different reasons, will not participate in surveys. There might be people who does not want to participate, are inhibited due to language barriers, illness or travels, or people we do not get a hold of. There are therefore differences between the gross sample, and the persons who we get a hold of, the net sample. When characteristics in the gross and the net sample are not the same, the net sample will not be statistically representative of the population. We find that the largest differences between the gross and the net sample are related to level of education. Persons with a high degree of education tend to respond more often and are overrepresented in the net sample. Related to age, the age group between 25-44 years are underrepresented in the net sample.

Measurement errors are due to the design of the questionnaire, or that questions in the survey are misinterpreted. There is also a risk related to respondents not providing full answers, or wrong information during an interview. A classical example of measurement errors is when a person has been travelling, and states the travel expenditures for the entire family, and not for the person itself. If possible, the figures are corrected. Alternatively, they are deleted.

Processing error may occur during the interview when the interviewer gets a list of questions one at a time. The questions are filtered, based on the responses given. A major advantage to this, is that all filters are programmed in advance, and therefore the risk of the interviewer asking the wrong question to the wrong persons are less. However, if the programming is incorrect, this may lead to some responses that are incorrect. We have no indication when these errors occur.

Not relevant