Disney Causes Tourism Overload in Norway

Ruben Baart
September 28th 2016

In March 2012 a team of Disney’s creatives booked a tour through Norway to find inspiration for their upcoming film "Frozen", or "Frost" as the movie is called in Norway. The breathtaking fjords, glacier lakes and snow-capped mountaintops served as the perfect backdrop for the Oscar-winning film. The animated feature not only broke box office records when it was released in 2013, it also boosted Norwegian tourism by 20%. And it's not sure if that is a good thing.

The movie is set in a fictional Norwegian-like kingdom and was supported by the country’s tourism sector. The storybook village of Bergen was reportedly the inspiration for Anna and Elsa’s home of Arendelle. While most of the characters speak in American accent, VisitNorway broadly covered the feature on their homepage, tripling traffic to the country in 2014. Adventures by Disney, the company's guided tour division, also contributed to the tourism boom, launching a Frozen holiday package to Norway. This was their second tour package, following the success of a Scotland vacation modeled after "Brave".

Last summer over one million visitors travelled to the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle area, and this number is rising as Matt Damon is currently shooting scenes for his upcoming movie there. Authorities say the islands are reaching a breaking point. Its public facilities are being exhausted, which leads to problems with waste disposal, public toilets and car parking. Also the environment is suffering, causing waste in forests and severe erosion on the coastline. Nearby towns referred the situation as "challenging", and call for measures to counter the tourism in 2017.

This is not the first time islands are overrun by tourists because of cinematographic successes, think about "The Lord of the Rings" and "Game of Thrones" for instance. There are many more uncharted landscapes in the world to explore, let’s hope that Hollywood is not going to get the best of it.

Sources: The Guardian, Lonely Planet

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