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Why a trip south might be cheaper than a cabin getaway in Norway this autumn

The Autumn holidays in Norway are upon us, but there are good reasons why many might avoid heading to cabins this year and instead look to the south.

Cabin interior
Photo by Clay Banks / Unsplash

Many Norwegians have opted to spend their Autumn holidays in warmer regions this year.

The ongoing electricity crisis has, without a doubt, contributed to many hotels and other accommodation providers in countries such as Spain reporting above-the-average booking figures for the holiday period.

In a recent press release, Gry Monica Hellevik of Falck Global Assistance said that their Spain office reported that all hotels and rental providers are fully booked during the Autumn holiday weeks.

A number of Norwegians are obviously making the most out of their first real Autumn holidays – free of COVID-19 travel restrictions – in years.

A trip to the south might be cheaper than staying at the cabin

Traditionally, many Norwegians spend their Autumn holidays at the cabin. However, the electricity price crisis has made something as simple as enjoying your time in an electrified cabin a luxury.

“A trip to the south can quickly become cheaper than a week at the cabin in the mountains, where the Autumn weather has already set in,” Hellevik says.

Furthermore, the fact that electricity subsidies in Norway only cover households, not holiday properties, can easily lead to an explosion in expenses.

In August, General Secretary of the national cabin association Norsk Hyttelag Audun Bringsvor told the newspaper Nationen that many people had changed their address from the city to various cabin municipalities in Norway – presumably to secure electricity subsidies coverage in the home in which they spend most of the year.

Norwegians dropping Autumn and Winter holidays at the cabin?

Many cabin owners are unsatisfied with the current situation. They want the government to expand its definition of households to cabins. Others are considering skipping trips to the cabin this Autumn and Winter.

Several plumbers told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) and the newspaper VG that they have been contacted by cabin owners who want to see if they can temporarily shut off water and electricity in the cabin to minimize expenses.

The plumbing company Løken VVS in the cabin municipality of Trysil has also received several such inquiries.

Master plumber Lars Erik Støbak in Løken VVS told VG that people need to be careful if they opt for such a measure.

“All pipes and everything connected to water in the cabin must be emptied completely so that it does not freeze and break into pieces,” Støbak says.

Some cabin municipalities fear losing a substantial part of their income if the cabin owners don’t show up in the following months.

In order to attract people to opt for cabin holidays, several municipalities are even considering a fixed price for electricity.

Government set on prioritizing households

In an e-mail to VG, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland (AP) writes that the government prioritizes household consumption within its electricity subsidy framework.

“Although many people have access to a cabin, we believe that household consumption must be prioritized as this is a necessity,” Aasland says.

The Støre government is expected to put forward a review of the
electricity subsidy scheme in its new national budget proposal, which will be presented on Thursday, October 6.

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EXPLAINED: Norway’s plans for a tourist tax 

Norway’s government is looking at options to introduce a tax on tourists and tourism-related activities. Here is what we know so far. 

EXPLAINED: Norway’s plans for a tourist tax 

Around 10 million tourists flock to Norway annually, drawn in by its majestic fjords, world-famous hikes, rugged wilderness and bucket-list activities such as Northern Lights tours. 

Many travellers already remark that the country is incredibly expensive. However, the cost of being a visitor in Norway could soon increase as the government plans to introduce a new tax on tourism-related activities. 

Earlier this week, the minority government consisting of the Labour Party and Centre Party, agreed on a budget for 2023 with the Socialist Left Party. 

Norwegian newswire NTB reports that as part of the agreement, the government would propose introducing a tax on tourism in 2024. The policies will be included in the budget for 2024, which will be presented next autumn. 

A potential tourist tax is still in its early stages, though, with the policy yet to be fully formulated. Still, Norway’s Ministry of Finance has begun exploring options regarding a tourist tax. 

“We have to investigate this and see how such a tax can be designed, both practically and legally. But the idea is that the local communities should be able to be left with more,” Lars Vangen, state secretary in the finance ministry, told NTB. 

The tax could come in the form of tourists paying additional tax on hotels, souvenirs and tourism activities. 

Proposals to pass some of the maintenance and cleaning costs on to tourists have appeared several times in recent years, most recently in the political agreement on which the current government was formed in October last year.

One of the reasons for a tourist tax is that many hotspots are located in small local authorities, where municipalities spend huge amounts each year on the upkeep of attractions, maintenance of key hiking trails and dealing with the pollution and litter caused by visitors.

Earlier this year, the Norwegian region Lofoten, known for its spectacular fjord and mountain scenery, said it would be willing to test-pilot a tourism tax scheme

The Norwegian Hospitality Association (NHO Reiseliv), an employer organisation for the sector, has previously been critical of potential tourist taxes, arguing it would make Norway a less desirable destination. 

READ ALSO: Best things to do in Norway in the winter