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Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond today welcomed a decision by Wideroe Airlines to increase the number of flights it operates between Aberdeen and Bergen, as provisional tourism figures indicated that the number of visitors from Norway to Scotland is on the rise.
Speaking as he travelled to Norway this morning for a series of trade and political engagements over two days, the First Minister hailed news that Norwegian operator Wideroe had expanded its flight offering out of Aberdeen to Bergen to meet a growing demand for leisure, as well as business, travel between the two countries.
The First Minister also welcomed new provisional tourism figures from that showed more than 90,000 people from Norway visited Scotland during 2011, compared to between 75,000 and 82,000 in each of the previous three years.
Wideroe has started a new return flight between Aberdeen and Bergen on Saturdays, and has now decided to begin a third flight on the route on Wednesdays from late August. The First Minister also confirmed that Wideroe would continue its support of VisitScotland’s successful Aberdeen City and Shire marketing campaign.
The First Minister said: “Aberdeen’s key role as a European energy hub requires good transport links and I’m delighted that Wideroe is putting on these new, additional flights from the city of Bergen. Norway and Scotland have strong historic and cultural ties, as well as trade links, most obviously in the oil and gas sector. I hope we can build on last year’s increase in visitor numbers to attract more Norwegians in this, our Year of Creative of Scotland.
“The Aberdeen City and Shire campaign, which is supported by our tourism agency VisitScotland, aims to attract tourists, as well as business travellers, to the beautiful north east region of Scotland and I’m pleased that Wideroe is supporting that effort.
“The rise in visitors and the increase in flights is a sign that the ties between Scotland and Norway are very strong indeed. Norway has become an increasingly important trading partner for Scotland over the last four years and my trip will seek to build on established relationships while looking at new opportunities for collaboration and investment.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “Ongoing support and investment is crucial to the success of the tourism industry and that is why I’m delighted to see the rise in numbers from Norway and also hugely encouraged by the commitment of Wideroe Airlines. There is clearly an opportunity for Scotland to tap into the historical and cultural ties with Norway and to further build and nourish the relationship we have to support the Scottish economy.”
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