Bente Bratland Holm, VisitOSLO

Bente Bratland Holm

Oslo’s Secrets

Editors’ Note

Bente Bratland Holm assumed her current post in August of 2013. She has extensive experience in various management positions in the Norwegian tourism industry, including Marketing Director of the Norwegian Tourist Board, CEO of TOP International Hotels Scandinavia, and Marketing Director at Best Western, as well as several assignments related to leadership development and change. Holm is currently the Director of Norway Convention Bureau, which she has headed since 2003. She is a graduate of the Norwegian School of Management (BI) and has a management degree from the Solstrand Management Program (AFF).

Organization Brief

VisitOSLO (visitoslo.com) is the official marketing organization for Oslo and the surrounding regions. Their shareholders and partners are local, regional, and national companies operating within travel, tourism, and transportation. VisitOSLO is responsible for visitor’s services such as the Tourist Information offices and the official Web site, visitoslo.com.

What unusual meeting facilities are there in Oslo, particularly for board meetings? For example, can you go out on a Viking ship?

Not on a Viking ship in the fjord, but you can have your board meeting on a tiny island out here, which has all the required facilities, and also very high quality food, so you can have a dinner after your board meeting.

It’s not without reason that we say, “the blue and the green and the city in between,” because in the wintertime, you can actually have the board meeting in the mountains, which is only 20 minutes by tram from the city center.

There are a lot of possibilities, because everything is so close and compact.

You have so many new hotels now, including The Thief, which is ultra-modern and very green. This must provide a great vista of all the big cruise ships that come in.

Yes. We recently had one of the biggest come to Oslo, and I was able to visit the ship. It’s nice to see Oslo from a cruise ship, but it’s also nice to sit here at The Thief and watch the cruise ships as they come to visit our city.

There are so many typical sights in Oslo that tourists know about, like City Hall, which is famous for the Nobel Peace Prize. Norway is also known for having many beautiful wooden churches. Is that still the case today?

Yes. We have quite a few of the old wooden churches left in Norway. They are so popular that there are some restrictions on the number of visitors on some days, or during the week in the high peak season.

What are the most popular sites that visitors to Oslo desire to see?

Most people want to see those things that we are best known for, such as Vigeland Park and the museums, and a lot of people want to see the Munch exhibition.

More people are asking about where the locals hang out. Where can we go to find those hidden venues that don’t cater to the regular tourists?

We have some new areas that we have built up that are urban and cool, and they’re based on local food.

What are they called?

One is called Gronland. Another is an area called Vulkan, which is a new section that has been built up where they have an active music scene. Oslo has more than 5,000 concerts a year, anything from orchestral to dance and rock, from small stages to big stages.•