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New Norwegian service aims to be Airbnb for activities

Do you want to eat in a local's home, instead of in a restaurant? Or go on a trip with a Norwegian? A new website now makes it a lot easier to find extraordinary activities when you're out travelling.

«The sharing economy» is a concept spreading rapidly, not least within tourism. The website Airbnb was suddenly responsible for one million guest nights in Norway last year, compared to 30 million guest nights for the tourism industry overall.

Now, a new Norwegian website wants to do with activities what Airbnb has done for accommodation.

Let’s say you’re travelling to a small town in Norway and want to rent a kayak. Or visit a Norwegian farm for a day, to cuttle with the animals and see how they work at the farm.

Then you should consider a visit to the website Booknanook, launched today.

“Based on market research, we found that both locals and tourists were having a hard time finding experiences and activities in Norway. We want to do something about that”, says Håvard Utheim, one of the entrepreneurs behind the new service.

With Booknanook, both ordinary Norwegians and companies can registrer their activities. When the site was launched today, there were mostly companies who had registered their offers on the website. The offers varied from guided kayak trips in Lofoten, to Segway rental in Oslo.

Utheim, however, is convinced that ordinary locals will follow.

“The goal is to create a platform where locals provide activities where tourists blend in. It’s an offer to ordinary people who don’t have tourism as their main income. A sheep farmer can take tourists along for roundups, for instance. Or a photographer can take people on tours, to show them where to find the most unique photo opportunities. Or you can set up culinary adventures in ordinary homes. With this website, we believe we can make Norway an even more exciting place to visit”, Utheim says.

Bookanook operates with support from Innovation Norway, and the eventual plan is to expand to the whole Nordic region. The site is financed by taking a share of the price specified by the offeror of the activity.

“We are working really hard to make a good product. If we manage so, I think that the word-of-mouth will help us spread the word. We had our first two bookings even before the launch, so that’s a good start at least”, says Håvard Utheim.

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