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Empty ski slopes in Norway as tourism suffers

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 20, 2020 - Duration: 02:07s

Empty ski slopes in Norway as tourism suffers

March and April are the busiest months for tourism in Norway, which is normally popular with skiiers and hikers.

But the tourists aren't coming this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, and small businesses are suffering.

Gloria Tso reports.

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Empty ski slopes in Norway as tourism suffers

High above the Arctic Circle in northern Norway, a peaceful haven for tourists looking for a secluded escape.

But their tourists aren't coming this year.

Travel as an industry is suffering from the coronavirus worldwide.

And in the small town of Lyngen - the crisis is existential.

Tour group managers like Mads Kvien face a questionable future.

(SOUNDBITE) (Norwegian) LYNGEN ADVENTURE MANAGER, MADS FAGERBORG KVIEN, SAYING: "We're now in the middle of one of the most important seasons here in Lyngen - the ski season - and when we don't know what's happening in the future, how we can plan for it, there's a lot of insecurity and that doesn't feel good." In a normal year, thousands descend on Lyngen to hike and ski.

March and April are normally the busiest months here and are vital to keep Lyngen going.

But just in the last week - almost all bookings have been cancelled.

COMPUTER SCREEN SHOWING ALL CANCELLATIONS, AUDIO OF LONNGREN SAYING (English): "Here we see all the red marks are all the cancellations for this week." Hennrika Lonngren has run the Magic Mountain Lodge for ten years.

But in just a few days- all her bookings for the next two months - that critical window- had been cancelled.

She isn't sure the lodge can survive without government help.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) OWNER AND MANAGER OF THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN LODGE, HENRIKA LONNGREN, SAYING: "I have two small children that are home from school and the kindergarten so I take care of them and then I start to look at all the bills that are coming every month like normal, and talk to the bank and see what we can do." The Norwegian government has announced measures it hopes will help industries the virus is hitting hard, like tourism.

But it did not elaborate on any specifics.

For now, Lonngren hopes the tourists come back by the end of winter - which lasts there until mid-May.

Mountain guide Tatu Autio is also holding out.

He says he plans to stay in Lyngen, even without the tourists, since its not much better there than anywhere else.

What's his plan until then, you might ask?

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MOUNTAIN GUIDE, TATU AUTIO, FROM FINLAND, SAYING: "Ski.

As much as I can.

Alone."

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