In 2020, it felt like the world spun out of control into a complete free fall. Nowhere was that more evident than in the Nordic countries, where income fell significantly, and public expenditures grew exponentially throughout the year. It was a short-term financial crisis, coupled with ongoing lockdowns and travel restrictions, and it made life very difficult for those in the tour and activity sector.

While there has been a steep rise in the demand for travel experiences around the globe, the Nordic countries’ tourism recovery has been much slower than in other parts of the world. This can be attributed to the fact that many international Nordic visitors hail from Russia and China, and many travellers need to book trips at this time. In addition, fewer Nordic travellers are booking domestic trips. 

It’s been a slow — but steady — recovery, but tour and activity operators in the Nordic countries may begin to enjoy a more extensive and brighter year in 2023. 

Nordic countries’ tourism challenges

Nordic traveler and the countries' tourism recovery

The Nordic region — with its unparalleled beauty and rich cultural heritage — is one of the fascinating corners of the world. It has long appealed to Nordic travellers, but this region’s tourism sector has experienced unique challenges during the past several years, such as: 

Lack of skilled labourers

Across the world, the workforce has shifted rapidly in the wake of the pandemic. The Nordic region is suffering from a lack of skilled labourers, which makes it difficult for tour and activity companies in these countries to secure the staff and quality tour guides they need to resume entire operations again.

Challenging economic conditions

The Nordic countries have been amid a financial crisis for the past several years, which has suppressed the desire for people to travel and prevented businesses from investing in their products.

Increased operational costs

Operation costs are rising for Nordic tour operators

The cost of running a tour and activity company is much higher than it used to be, which makes it difficult for tour operators to offer competitive pricing to attract budget-conscious Nordic travellers.

Competition with budget-friendly destinations

Economic conditions and lingering pandemic concerns have made many Nordic visitors seek affordable vacation options. People often look elsewhere for their travel experiences due to the cost of travelling throughout the region.

According to Travel and Tour World, only Denmark saw the number of overnight stays increase in 2022 compared to 2019. Throughout the rest of the region, the number of overnight stays rested below pre-pandemic levels. The recovery could have been faster, particularly in Finland, which has made it difficult for tour and activity operators to plan.

Tourism Recovery Outlook

The beginning of the tourism recovery in the Nordic region is on the horizon. As tour operators look to the peak travel season ahead, they can expect more Nordic visitors to be arriving at their locations. Traditionally, summer has been the most popular time to visit the Nordic countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. From early June until the end of August, the weather is ideal, and the sunshine is plentiful — international travellers enjoy seeing the sights in this weather, while domestic travellers can soak up the beauty of the ‘summer house’ coastal culture.

Nordic countries' tourism recovery

While the number of Chinese travellers has been low for several years, the Nordic region is anticipating an increase in this market segment this year. By the end of 2024, Chinese travellers are expected to spend more than US$1.6 billion in Nordic countries. Recognizing this potential influx of travellers, Nordic tour and activities operators should begin creating products that appeal to this market segment.

5 ways Nordic tours and activities operators can prepare for recovery

This is the year to situate yourself for recovery. As a Nordic tour and activity operator, you can set the stage for success by:

Offering online booking 

The pandemic forced people worldwide to rely almost exclusively on online spending. Research shows that consumers will continue their old habits in Nordic countries. The average Nordic traveller expects to be able to pay online for their tours and activities, so now is the best time to optimise your website to accept online bookings and secure process payments. You can do this by:

  • Creating a new SEO strategy to optimise your website content and increase your visibility online
  • Simplifying your website design and including CTAs and book now buttons on multiple pages to make it easy for consumers to navigate
  • Designing short booking forms that rely on your real-time availability and offer instant, secure payment options for your customers

Automating administrative tasks

In an era where skilled workers are difficult to come by, and you need to focus more of your energy on revamping your tour products, the best thing you can do is begin to automate your administrative tasks. Investing in the right online booking solution is a great way to automate your processes. Here are some tools that an online booking software can provide that will automate your tasks:

  • Real-time availability viewer –  With this feature, your availability will be automatically updated and reflected on your website and across all distribution channels, minimizing the risk of booking errors such as overbooking and double booking
  • Automatic manifest updates –  Booking changes and even cancellations are inevitable. As you process new bookings and updates, your resources will be allocated accordingly. With this feature, you can be confident knowing that you and your team are on top of everything you need for your next tour experience
  • Automatic communication – Communicate instantly with your customers through automatic messaging. Travellers who are booking tours and activities online want to receive instant confirmation of their booking. In addition to sending automatic confirmation e-mails, you can send reminders and prepare your customers for their upcoming experience
  • Reporting tools – Process intuitive reports that provide the data you need to make the best decisions for your brand

Rezdy is the leading booking software for tour and activity operators. We offer you the power to automate your processes and focus more vital parts of your business such as the customer experience.

Investing in touchless technology

Touchless technology was beginning to take hold in the years leading up to the pandemic, but the onset of COVID-19 increased the need for touch-free experiences. In the wake of pandemic restrictions and as fears have eased about the spread of germs in the community, consumers have still left craving those convenient, contact-free services. Some touchless technology that you might consider includes:

  • Digital QR code check-ins for your tours and activities
  • Digital payment processing through a secure gateway, such as Rezdypay

The fact of the matter is some of the changes that were ushered in during the early days of the pandemic have become societal norms over the past several years. You will need to offer these touchless experiences for tech-savvy consumers who have come to expect them both at home and abroad.

Creating flexible tour and activity products

The world is still reeling from the impact of the pandemic, and lingering cancellations, flight disruptions, and unexpected illnesses force people to change their plans at the last minute. Before the pandemic, many travel and tour companies offered firm policies that required consumers to stick with their reservations or forfeit their deposits. However, after an experience that required everyone to be flexible and agile in the most unexpected ways, more lenient policies are now the norm.

It would help if you adopted a booking policy that allows for flexibility and accommodates last-minute bookings, as this will allow prospective travellers to feel confident when booking with you.

Increasing your reach through new distribution channels

As the tourism recovery begins in earnest in the Nordic countries, now is the best time to broaden your horizons. You can do this by relying on a Channel Manager to connect you with thousands of resellers, including OTAs and visitor information centres. These resellers have access to new market segments that you may need help to reach, and they can help you increase your brand recognition across the industry. The Rezdy Channel Manager allows you to easily manage these partnerships from a central dashboard — allowing you to display your live rates and availability, manage your bookings and pay out commissions with ease.


Looking back on the past several years, there’s no doubt that tour and activity operators in the Nordic region have endured a challenging era. But now, there is hope on the horizon. The Nordic countries’ tourism recovery is well underway, and now is the best time to prepare for an influx of Nordic visitors. 

Rezdy can provide the tools and resources needed to attract the most motivated Nordic traveller. With Rezdy, you can streamline your administrative processes and implement the latest technology, allowing you to maximise your revenue while focusing on providing each guest with the best possible experience.

Curious to see how Rezdy can fit within your business? Start your FREE 21-day trial today or book a demo today to see how we can cater to your business’s specific needs.

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