Norway has enough tourists crowding its mountaintops to belt out “Frozen” songs in the summer, thank you

Easy sell.
Easy sell.
Image: Mattias Fredriksson/Visitnorway.com
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Arendelle, the fictional kingdom in Disney’s massively successful animation film Frozen, closely resembles the western coast of Norway, with its stunning fjords and soaring mountains.

Perhaps too closely for the liking of some Norwegians. The country has seen a spike in tourists since the 2013 release of Frozen, and the masses of superfans keen to belt out Let It Go from Norwegian peaks have contributed to packed hotels, traffic jams and long lines, and crowding at some attractions, according to news reports.

Nights foreign tourists spent in Norwegian hotels, cabins, and campgrounds last year rose more than 8% from 2014 to a record 8.83 million nights, according to Innovation Norway, a government agency. Foreigners accounted for 68% of hotel stays in the country last year, compared with 59% in 2009.

Now Norway is tapping the brakes on growth in visitor arrivals for the peak summer months. Fjord Norway, a tourism board for the western region of the country, says it is trying to get more tourists to visit during other times of the year.

Fjord Norway is developing a new tourism campaign that markets the western part of the country as a year-round destination, instead of concentrating on just the long days of summer, Kristian Jorgensen, chief executive of Fjord Norway said. He added that he attributes the rise in tourism in the region at least in part to the Frozen effect. The goal now, he said, is to spread out the visitors over the year, which he said will create more jobs and be more sustainable.

New Zealand had a similar experience of a Hollywood-driven tourism boom following the Lord of the Rings movies. And while a surge of tourists may seem like an embarrassment of riches, Norway is far from the only government trying to temper a rush of tourists. Other nations, including Peru and Australia, have tried to control the flow of tourists to cultural and natural treasures. Some locals in other parts of the world have protested, while governments have threatened to fine visitors who don’t follow the rules.

Frozen fans need not despair though. They can always brave the crowds at Disney World.