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Oslo to the rescue!

How Oslo gave two young Kiwis a chance to escape a less than ideal holiday in an overcrowded city

“People pollution” is the new buzzword taking hold in the travel world. Increasing levels of tourism and international travel have made some destinations complicated to visit, if not frankly unappealing. Everyone can recall images of the lines of climbers ascending Mount Everest in an industrial fashion, Benidorm beaches where tourists’ towels tightly tile the beaches, or the Piaza San Marco of Venice being stormed by hordes of cruise-passengers eager to snap a selfie with the Campanile in the background.

Thankfully Oslo has not been plagued by such inconveniences and intends to keep it this way. The sidewalks are walkable, personal space in public transport is still a thing and if you really must take a selfie in front of The Scream, by world famous painter Edvard Munch, you may still do so without having to wait in line. The fact that there is room for everyone means Oslo has not been split into a two-layer city, with a superficial veneer designed for visitors, and the genuine city underneath, only accessible to residents or those “in the know”.

This Oslo asset is highlighted in the latest social media campaign by the Oslo Brand Alliance, a collaboration of The Oslo Region Alliance, Oslo Business Region and VisitOSLO. This campaign followed a two-step process. The first step was to monitor the vast expanse of social media in order to find a person experiencing a holiday situation gone wrong, or which had failed to live up to their expectation. The second part was to set up a rescue plan and convince them drop their disappointing holiday and fly up to Norway’s capital for an unforgettable 48 hours.

The distress beacon picked up by Oslo emanated from a young couple of New Zealanders, Marela and Sam, for whom Paris was failing to deliver. What they found most disappointing was the obstacle people had become to having a positive visitor experience. They were less than impressed by the long queues to monuments and landmarks, the crowds obstructing the view to most artworks and the disappointing feeling of having to go through a generic, mass tourism experience.

Instead in Oslo they were served delicious food and wine, tried stand-up paddling on the Oslo Fjord, made use of Oslo's app-connected City Bikes, and last but not least, got to admire one of Munch's masterpieces completely undisturbed. So Marela and Sam's two days in Oslo were packed with experiences, but not with people.

Sam and Marela at the National Gallery
Sam and Marela at the National Gallery
Photo: VisitOSLO/Waterdrop

The experiences, places, sights and the high quality of life depicted in the video make a perfect backdrop to any meeting, incentive, congress or event organized in Oslo. Oslo prides itself in being accessible and having very few out of bounds areas, meaning many exceptional public and private places can be used for events.

Since a picture paints a thousand words, you can watch the video under to see the final result of this clever social media campaign.