Norway opens up to Swedish tourists… so long as they’re from Gotland

Norway will allow travel to and from all regions of Finland, Sweden and Iceland that have an 'acceptable' infection level – a criterion that rules out every region in Sweden apart from the island of Gotland.

Norway opens up to Swedish tourists... so long as they're from Gotland
Just one small island region of Sweden meets the criteria. Photo: FHI/The Local
At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Bjørn Guldvog, the head of Norway's directorate of health, said that the guidelines drawn up meant that the whole of mainland Sweden would remain off limits until infection rates declined.
“In Sweden, the epidemic situation is unfortunately such that we can only now open up for leisure travel to and from Gotland,” he said, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK
All regions of Denmark, Iceland, and Finland currently meet the criteria. 
Prime Minister Erna Solberg conceded that the results of the new assessments would be unwelcome to those wishing to travel to and from Sweden.
“I realise this is a big disappointment for some people. But the restrictions are based on objective criteria that are the same for everyone,” she said at the press conference. 
Solberg said the new guidelines would allow Norway to now open up for leisure travel to and from every country in the Nordic region, including Finland, Sweden and Iceland. It opened up to Danish citizens at the end of last month. 
“But this only applies to regions with an acceptable reproduction number,” she added.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has assessed each region in the Nordics on the basis of their incidence rate over the past 14 days, and based on the percentage of positive samples over the past 14 days. 
But it has also applied 'qualitative criteria', judging regions on the extent to which those with even mild symptoms are tested, on how good their contract tracing system is, and on the quality of information given out to travellers. 
It has produced a new set of advice for international travel and a map, showing which regions in the Nordic countries meet the criteria and which do not.  
Solberg said that the criteria will allow Norway in future to open up for and shut down to different regions as the level of infection in them fluctuates, with the NIPH publishing new regional assessments every fortnight. 
“Let me emphasise – this is not just about where to spend the holidays this summer. We must plan for travel restrictions to last over time,” she said.  
In a small ray of good news for those wishing to travel to and from Sweden, Bent Høie, Norway's health minister, said that several regions bordering Norway were currently close to meeting the criteria, meaning that they could see controls lifted when the situation is reevaluated in two weeks' time. 
Solberg warned that the new system could mean a region of another Nordic country is ruled off limits at short notice, forcing Norwegians to cancel planned trips or to unexpectedly have to spend ten days in quarantine on their return. 
“If you are planning a holiday outside Norway, you must also be aware that quarantine can be reintroduced at short notice if the infection situation changes while abroad,” she said. 
The announcement came a day after Finland opened its borders to all of the Baltic and Nordic states except Sweden. 

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Ryanair to raise flight ticket prices in Austria

The low-cost airline said it would increase ticket costs for flights to and from Austria.

Ryanair to raise flight ticket prices in Austria

Ryanair, which also owns popular Austrian carrier Lauda Europe, will raise its prices – but moderately – due to inflation, the company said.

Ryanair Austria head Andreas Gruber added that the days of flying almost for free are over: “There will be no more 10-euro tickets”, he told Austrian press.

The average price for a Ryanair flight will rise from €40 to €50 in the future. Still, the Irish airline expects the number of passengers to grow in the coming months as people start looking for cheaper transportation with the rising cost of living.

Just as with grocery shopping, with people increasingly buying at discount stores, so will travellers start paying more attention to the prices of tickets, Gruber expects. In Vienna, the number of passengers is expected to rise from six million this year to 6.5 million the following year.

READ ALSO: From inflation to Covid: What to expect from Austria’s winter season

Ryanair also starts operating from Klagenfurt in November when it expects an influx of 50,000 to 60,000 passengers. The company said that ticket bookings have been as high as expected, especially with people looking to fly to London-Stansted.

Gruber also sees Ryanair on the rise in competition with Austrian Airlines (AUA). “We offer more destinations on short and medium-haul routes than AUA from Vienna,” said the executive, adding that the market share in Vienna is currently 25 percent.

READ ALSO: EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

New winter routes to and from Vienna

The airline recently announced eight new routes that would be included in the program of its flights scheduled to and from Vienna, as The Local reported.

The new routes are Bremen (Germany), Manchester (England), Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), Genoa and Venice (Italy), Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Sibiu (Romania).

READ ALSO: Ryanair announces eight new routes from Vienna for winter 2022

Ryanair said it is investing €1.7 billion in its Vienna hub, which means that a total of 17 aircraft will be stationed in Austria’s capital. The airline will operate more than 600 flights a week to and from the capital and will create 600 jobs for the season.