Petter Stordalen
Petter Stordalen

Photo: Magnus Liam Karlsson


Stordalen: "Travel has taught me a lot"

We asked our guest editor Petter Stordalen what he thinks about Airbnb, art and tax. And we got some of his travel tips.

Sweden’s new airline tax
‘I’m hoping that we find a technical solution, so that we can fly with a clean conscience. There are solutions ­already, for instance cleaner fuel. I believe that we will travel more, not less, in the future. The generation before me traveled less than me; the one after me will travel more. The world is becoming more and more a global village. I don’t believe in pointing out faults, I believe in development.

How travel has affected him
‘Travel has taught me a lot about other cultures and increased my understanding and respect for them. Above all, I’ve learned that happiness is about everything other than money and gross national product. I’ve been in small villages in Africa where they have almost nothing, but they’re happy.’

'Airbnb itself has always been there – they’ve just found a technical solution to something that has always existed. It’s a good supplement for many people. At the same time, not everyone wants to live in someone else’s home, with their toothbrush and pictures on the walls, and there are security issues as well. We’ve introduced longstay in our hotels, so people can stay for longer periods with us as well.'

His strongest travel memory
I’ve traveled a lot, starting with backpacking at 15 in Greece and later to the Antarctic, not to mention following in Marco Polo’s footsteps from Moscow to Pakistan, Himalaya and China. But my best memory is when Gunhild and I were on a horseback safari in the Serengeti during the great migration, when 1.2 million animals pass through the Serengeti. Thousands of wildebeest and zebras galloping, and in the middle of that, us on horses. Fantastic.

The artwork that means most to him
Outside my bedroom I have a sculpture titled Midas by the Danish artist Kirsten Ortwed – a golden apple core and a figure. King Midas was the man who turned everything he touched into gold. The story ends in catastrophe, when he touches his own child. The piece has important symbolism for me. It’s about greed. You remember Michael Douglas’ character in Wall Street, with the famous line, “Greed is good”? He was so wrong.

His long-haul musts
A good book, movies and music. A great meal, a few glasses of wine and nothing disturbing me. I love a long flight.

His favorite hotel that he doesn’t own
The One&Only Le Saint Géran on Mauritius. We take a vacation there every year with my family, 40 people altogether.

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