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HOLIDAYS

Traffic jams and ferry queues as Norway holidays at home

Norway's Prime Minister has encouraged everyone to holiday at home this year. But as well as bringing much-needed spending to tourist areas across the country, it has also brought traffic.

Traffic jams and ferry queues as Norway holidays at home
There is heavy traffic on many roads. Photo: Knut Opeide/SVV
There are queues of more than six hours for some popular car ferries, and many roads are congested. 
 
According to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration more than 1,000 more cars a day are currently driving along parts of the coasts of Helgelund and Nordland than in the same period last year. The E39 near Ålesund is seeing close to 2,000 additional cars per day. 
 
“My conclusion is very clear. We are seeing greater traffic than what is normal for this part of the year, Arnmod Bjørnstad, the section head of the administrations road traffic control centres in northern Norway. 
 
 
'Norway is a beautiful country', Prime Minister Erna Solberg told Norwegians back in May, as they were planning their holidays. “I would recommend people to plan for a Norwegian holiday this summer.” 
 
But Magnar Nilsen and Tove Nygård Nilsen from Moss, one couple who heeded her advice, had to sleep in their car after waiting six and a half hours for a ferry from Forvik to Tjøtta. They estimate they have spent 15 hours so far in ferry queues on their journey up the coast to Lofoten. 
 
“When the government encouraged everyone to have a holiday in Norway, they should have made sure that there were enough ferries to handle all the tourists,” the couple told Norway's state broadcaster NRK
 
Torhild Haugann, the mayor of Vevelstad, said that the arrival of tourists had also been a nightmare for local residents, who now felt trapped on their islands, unable to visit locals towns to go shopping. 
 
“It is actually so bad that many farmers do not dare to leave home, because you do not know if and when you can get back,” he said. “Taking a risk and travelling might involve an overnight stay.” 
 
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration has started increasing the number of departures on some ferry routes to reduce the congestion. 
 

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TRAVEL

TRAVEL: Which regions in Spain are paying residents to go on staycations?

Twelve autonomous communities in Spain are offering their residents - and in some cases people from other parts of Spain-  holiday vouchers worth hundreds of euros as an incentive for them to spend their summer holidays in their part of the country. 

TRAVEL: Which regions in Spain are paying residents to go on staycations?
Photo: CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

Andalusia

The Andalusian tourist voucher offers a 25 percent discount on accommodation and breakfast in the region and up to 50 percent for some specific cases. People over 65 or under 25 can enjoy a €500 discount for hotel stays of four nights.

It’s available for people who are registered (empadronados) at town halls in the southern region and can be used up to three times before December 2021.

Find out more here.

Aragón

Residents from all over Spain can enjoy a discount of 40 percent on their holidays in Aragón, up to €300 per person. 

Find out more here.

The Balearic Islands

Balearic residents can get up to €100 per person for stays on any of the islands that make up Spain’s Mediterranean archipelago. 

Find out more here.

The turquoise waters of Menorca. Photo: Ricardo Frantz/Unsplash

Castilla-La Mancha

Castilla-La Mancha has launched pretty measly holiday subsidies by comparison with other regions: up to €12 for hostels, up to €20 for two and three-star hotels and up to €30 for the top hotels. 

Find out more here.

Castilla-León

Castilla-León offers €250, €500 or €700 holiday bonuses through its prepaid card “Disfruta” and “Disfruta Plus Agencias” for all visitors, meaning that this offer may also be available to international holidaymakers.

Find out more here.

Extremadura 

Extremadura has tourist vouchers that give discounts of between 50 and 75 percent on accommodation and activities for holidaymakers from all over Spain. The discounts are different in each of the western region’s two provinces.

Find out more here.

Galicia 

The green northwestern region has a tourist card available at bank branches which gives Galician residents (padrón in Galicia) €500 if they give €200, €375 if they pay in €150 and €250 if they top up €100.

Find out more here.

The Galician city of A Coruña. Photo: Eduardo Fernández/Unsplash

Canary Islands 

The Canary government is looking to roll out a prepaid card in June or July which will give 50,000 residents of the archipelago vouchers of €200 to spend their summer holidays on one of the Atlantic islands. It is expected that a similar incentive will be given to national tourists from the mainland but it’s yet to be confirmed.

Madrid

Madrid offers accommodation and tourism discounts of up to 50 percent (up to €600) to all national visitors who spend their holidays in the capital.

Find out more here.

The Basque Country

The Basque Country launched the Euskadi Turismo voucher, which offers discounts of 25 to 30 percent on selected tourism expenses.

Find out more here.

Valencia region

The Valencian government pays for 70 percent of tourism costs for registered residents (padrón in Alicante, Valencia or Castellón provinces) if they have a staycation in the region.

It covers accommodation costs and other hotel services but not alcohol or pay-per-view TV.

The next available holiday bonus period in the eastern region runs from September 15th to December 31st 2021, and budding holidaymakers have to register between September 15th and November 1st to gain access to this offer.

Find out more here.

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