The food research institute Nofima has carried out an analysis, commissioned by Innovation Norway, showing that only half of the companies that offer marine fishing tourism in northern Norway are profitable. The report was presented to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries last Wednesday.
The report illuminates several interesting aspects of the fishing tourism industry in the north of the country. These include that it is an adventage to have a boat for hire for every four berths, that the companies should not be too large, and that they should not depend exclusively on fishing tourism, since this often implies that they have low or zero income outside of the fishing tourism season.
“Our analysis shows that the companies with 30-40% of their turnover from fishing tourism are the most profitable. We believe that the explanation to the low profitabilitye in companies with a high fraction of fishery tourism, is that they have a low exploitation of capacity, not work actively with establishing tourism offers outside of the fishing tourism season, April to September,” says Nofima scientist Trude Borch.
The report makes clear recommendations to Innovation Norway. One is that the public sector should support the development of established companies that have a potential based on their commercial profitability, rather than supporting a large number of new enterprises in the fishing tourism sector. An evaluation of potential must be carried out, based on profitability, market factors, expertise, logistics/transport and the flow of tourists. Examples of support that should be given are investment in more and better boatsand to insulate accommodation facilities so that they can be used during winter and thus contribute to winter tourism. Other factors that are emphasised are support for collaborative networks within product development, the development of current markets, and sales in new markets.
The summary of the report states: “The agencies charged with executing change should not support large facilities, since the greatest demand appears to be directed towards small and medium-sized facilities (25-30 berths and 6-8 boats).”
“We recommend that support should be given to those who wish to expand their ventures by investing in other activities. As previously mentioned, winter activities should be given priority. In order to attract more guests from the family sector, a higher degree of product differentiation should be offered during the summer season. We recommend to give priority to safari products (bird-watching safaris, for example), hiking and cycle tourism,” concludes Trude Borch, author of the report with scientist Marianne Svorken.
The study has examined only companies in northern Norway, and shows that there are more unprofitable companies in Finnmark than in Nordland or Troms.