New 13-hour KAL nonstop to Oslo reflects countries’ growing closeness

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New 13-hour KAL nonstop to Oslo reflects countries’ growing closeness

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From left: Nancy Choi, director of the Korea office of the Norway Tourist Board; Norwegian Ambassador Torbjorn Holthe; Per Holte, commercial counselor of Innovation Norway; and commercial counselor Bjorn Bjornsen of the Norwegian Embassy celebrated KAL’s launch of direct flights to Norway. Provided by CJSW

The Norway Tourist Board has announced that KAL will be the first Korean airline to offer direct flights between Seoul and Oslo.

With a flight time of 13 hours from Incheon to Norway and 11 hours and 30 minutes on the return, the service will commence May 25 and operate each Saturday until June 22. Future schedules have yet to be determined.

Norwegian Ambassador Torbjorn Holthe; Per Holte, commercial counselor of Innovation Norway; and commercial counselor Bjorn Bjornsen of the Norwegian Embassy attended the launch event for the new flight earlier this month.

“Koreans are the second-largest group of Asian tourists to Norway, after the Chinese. So the direct flight is remarkable because it reflects growing interest and demand,” said Holthe.

“More broadly, it will bring mutual development to both countries in the long run by fostering more cultural and commercial exchanges,” he added.

Even though Germans constitute the largest number of tourists in Norway, followed by Danes, Swedes and Dutch, “we focus on attracting tourists from Asia because it’s a fast-growing region,” said Holte.

The number of nights spent in Norway’s hotels by Korean tourists reached 62,000 last year, a 37 percent jump from 2011, according to Holte. He estimates that 22,000 to 33,000 Koreans visit Norway each year.

Demand is expected to grow for flights between Korea and the Scandanavian capital as the two countries increase their economic cooperation.

“South Korea and Norway can have mutual benefits because we have many sectors to cooperate,” said Bjornsen, the commercial counselor. “The sectors include environment, energy and shipping industry. Korea was the largest supplier of ships to Norway last year.”

On the back of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement, bilateral trade between Norway and Korea rose from $825.2 million in 2001 to $3.96 billion in 2011, with Norway’s exports amounting to $1.56 billion and Korea’s exports $2.41 billion.


By Park Eun-jee [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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