SOURCE: Innovation Norway

June 09, 2008 12:37 ET

Norway Offers Americans "Passport to Friluftsliv"

150th Anniversary of Norway's "Open Air Life" Encourages Americans to Connect With Nature

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - June 9, 2008) - Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen first introduced the word friluftsliv (free-looft-sleev) in print in 1859. The word, which translates literally as "open air life," has since come to represent a defining element of the Norwegian culture; an aspiration to experience nature in its primacy. Marking the 150th anniversary of the word in print, Norway is offering Americans a "Passport to Friluftsliv," announcing custom itineraries through partner tour operators that allow travelers visiting Norway to personally experience friluftsliv.

"We've noted with interest the discussion in America regarding the 'nature deficit disorder' and research that demonstrates Americans are spending less time outdoors connecting with nature," commented Kristin Dahle, region director-Americas, Innovation Norway. "Living friluftsliv is an inherent part of our national culture and everyday life. In fact, everyone in Norway, visitors or residents, has the unrestricted right of free access in the countryside. We want to share this lifestyle and its physical and psychological benefits with Americans. With its unparalleled natural beauty and resources, there is no better place to be empowered by nature than Norway."

Friluftsliv offers the possibility of recreation, rejuvenation and restoring balance among living things. Some of the intrinsic benefits of friluftsliv include increased physical activity, reduced stress levels through a connection with nature and quality time alone or with loved ones. Whether it's hiking in the mountains, kayaking in the fjords, fishing for salmon, whale or bird watching, people can connect with nature and experience the true feeling of living friluftsliv.

Innovation Norway, a governmental entity that promotes Norwegian industry and Norway as a tourist destination, is helping travelers embrace friluftsliv by partnering with tour operators to promote "Passport to Friluftsliv" -- travel itineraries for the 2009 travel season that connect travelers with the natural beauty of Norway. Travelers can customize their itineraries based on their interests and include a variety of options for both nature travelers and adventure enthusiasts.

Sample Norway Itinerary for Nature Enthusiasts

The Northern region of Norway is truly an undiscovered treasure. In this region of Norway (Nordland, Troms, Finnmak and Svalbard) travelers can:

--  See and taste the region's enormous king crabs through an Arctic
    safari in Finnmark:  National Geographic Adventure magazine named this
    experience one of the 25 best new trips of 2008
--  Experience the Midnight Sun: In summer months, the sun never sets in
    the northern regions of Norway.  Set a tee time for midnight and enjoy a
    round of golf in Lofoten
--  Set a date with "Miss Aurora (Borealis)" and enjoy the spectacular
    show that the Northern Lights brings to a crisp and cold winter night in
    Troms
--  Explore the Vega Archipelago: These islands have been named to
    UNESCO's World Heritage list for their unusual geology and distinctive
    animal and plant life
--  View the Arctic's last wilderness, go on a killer whale safari in
    Vesterålen or a sea eagle safari on Sommarøy
    

Sample Norway Itinerary for Adventure Travelers

If a traveler is looking to add adventure in their friluftsliv experience, Norway offers the following activities:

--  Stand behind 12 eager dogs as you dogsled through the Norwegian
    Lapland
--  Embrace the horsepower of snow scooters as you tour the mountains of
    Northern Norway or herd reindeer in Kautokeino with the help of the native
    Sami people
--  Put on your snow shoes and go ice-fishing on a fjord or lake before
    enjoying your freshly caught catch deliciously prepared by a master chef in
    Tromsø, Norway's candidate to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games
--  Go Island hopping by sea kayak in Lofoten:  paddle from island to
    island on what many call the world's most beautiful coastline, stopping to
    enjoy sandy beaches and spectacular views
--  Bike along a National Tourist Route on a beautiful coastal stretch of
    the island of Senja: Experience the wild and rugged landscape, the unique
    coastal culture in small fishing villages such as Husøya, an exotic pearl
    where a Spanish siesta is a natural part of daily life
    

A number of partner tour operators, both Norwegian and domestic, are offering "Passport to Friluftsliv" travel itineraries. Innovation Norway recommends booking itineraries by December 2008 for travel in the 2009 season to ensure availability.

For more information about friluftsliv or "Passport to Friluftsliv" travel itineraries through partner tour operators, please visit www.visitnorway.com/friluftsliv.

ABOUT INNOVATION NORWAY (www.visitnorway.com)

In 2004, Innovation Norway took over the tasks of the Norwegian Industrial and Regional Development Fund, the Norwegian Trade Council, the Government Consultative Office for Inventors and the Norwegian Tourist Board. Innovation Norway offers products and services to help develop the regions, increase innovation in industry throughout Norway, and promote Norwegian industry and Norway as a tourist destination. With offices in all Norwegian counties and in more than 30 countries worldwide, Innovation Norway's staff has knowledge of local and international factors that help turn its customers' ideas into business successes.