After a press trip to Helgeland organized by Innovation Norway Spain and Northern Norway Tourist board, many people in Spain start wondering about this remote island in Northern Norway.
Why organizing a trip to Helgeland in winter? This was also my first thought when I got the suggestion from Goril Ovesen from Northern Norway Tourist Board. This year we decided to brand Northern Norway in winter organizing a press trip following the same pattern we had followed the last years: Showing winter activities under the northern lights: dogsledge, snowscooter safari, king crab safari, northern light safari, etc. When we saw the program proposed by NNR our first thought was “Why Helgeland at this time of the year?” but after a second thought we realized that this was just the way IN had decided to go in our work to brand Norway abroad and we saw a very good opportunity to brand Norway in a different way.
For Spanish people Northern Norway in winter is an exotic place and they wonder how people live in these remote places so far north with a rough climate and dark winters. This is what attracted the journalists: the possibility of learning more about the Norwegian culture and how life is in winter over the arctic circle. We changed the objective of going to “chase the Northern Lights” for “chasing stories under the Northern Lights”.
We visited Mosjøen, Næsna, Lovund and Bodø. The idea was to show us beautiful nature, beautiful places, experience the local culture and also experience some winter activities. Unfortunately we could not follow much of the program because of the terrible weather. We experienced what the locals called “Full storm” practically during our whole stay.
The trip was not easy to handle. Specially at the beginning. It is not easy to deal with a group of journalists who have travelled for hours and need to take photos and experience things that we just cannot deliver. But thanks to the positive attitude of our host, Gøril Ovesen and all the fantastic people we met at the end the trip was one of the most successful presstrips we have had.
And the reason of the success was the STORIES, with a human touch and a lot of passion.
Spanish journalists heard stories about the present and past in the beautiful town of Mosjoen, about the eagles and nature in Næsna, learnt about history in Bodo….. But the surprise was Lovund.
The second day we arrived to Lovund where our program had to be cancelled due to the weather. We had 24 “exciting” hours ahead with nothing planned, in a little island of 500 inhabitants in the middle of a heavy storm. And this was perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the trip for Spanish because of the people we met who told us the interesting story of the Island and its commercial link to Spain.
There are already some very interesting results in the most relevant national newspaper in Spain, El Pais:
And two in lifestyle and travel media:
I would like to point out three important learning points that the journalists took home:
Cold does not exist if you wear the right clothes!
You take what you get!
In Northern Norway they can fix everything and the culture is to always try to help each other
And my personal learning.
Nature, activities, hotels, museums, restaurants, etc. are very important but at the end, what makes the difference and the stories are THE PEOPLE.