In the past few years, tourism in several areas of northern Norway has doubled in the winter. Most of the growth stems from a rising interest in experiencing the Northern Lights, which glow in the northern Norwegian winter sky. In particular, the TV show “Jakten på Nordlyset” has played a role in this increase in interest. There is, therefore, good reason for Norway Post to have chosen the Northern Lights as its standard motif for the new personalized stamps with international postage.
The newspapers reported in 2013 that there were more tourists in the Tromsø region during the winter than in the summer, and that the sale of winter activities increased by 100%. Kjell Ove Hveding from Sommarøy told the newspaper VG that: “..before we hoped that we would lose as little money as possible during the period November-March. Now we barely have room for all the tourists who are coming!” With the midnight sun in the summer and the Northern Lights from October to March, the sun has become a magnet that is attracting tourists to our part of northern Scandinavia. Nature-based tourism has grown in volume throughout the world and people are travelling long distances to experience our weather phenomenon. In Pasvikdalen or Karasjok you can head off on a dog sled “safari”, and from Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel you can experience the Northern Lights on a “snowmobile safari”.
In order to see the Northern Lights, the sky must be dark and the weather must be clear. The best time is from around 10 p.m. to midnight, but they can also be seen at other times. The Hurtigruten’s winter cruise is popular since the ship’s route lies within “the auroral oval”. The Northern Lights are often seen within an oval-shaped area around the magnetic North Pole, and it is this area that is called “the auroral oval”. Northern Norway is the warmest part of this oval that and most easily accessible for tourists who want to see the glow of the Northern Lights across the sky.