Billionaire pledges 5000 free nights in his hotels for refugees

By Kate Hassett

This Norwegian billionaire is offering a safe haven for Syria's displaced

Whilst the refugee crisis worsens, governments, organisations and individuals are attempting to find solutions to the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe, since WWII.

Petter Stordalen, a Norwegian billionaire and owner of Scandinavian hotel chain Nordic Choice Hotels, has thrown his bid in the ring, attempting to provide shelter for the refugees who miss out on placement.

He has pledged 5,000 free nights in his hotels to any refugees who are without shelter or a place to stay.

Proving not to be just an empty promise, Stordalen hosted 50 Syrian refugees this past weekend, as reported by Norwegian paper Aftenposten.

In an interview with Forbes, Stordalen spoke of his decision to host these groups of people, adding “it’s impossible not to be affected by the human tragedy and by what’s occurring in the Middle East.”

“They can’t sleep in the streets.” he said.

Stordalen’s announcement comes just weeks after Egyptian billionaire, Naguid Sawiris, offered to buy an island to house the displaced refugees.

While the hotel stays are only a temporary relief for refugees, they offer a chance to bathe, refuel on food and water and get a good night’s sleep – something that any refugee will be happy to receive.

After their stay, the hotels coordinate with police to ensure guests are securely escorted back to immigration officials. Whilst the government has announced it has no such plans to take up Stordalen’s offer, they have said that his hotel can be used as a last resort while they search for a more permanent solution.

“We appreciate Mr. Stordalens offer and we’ll consider using his hotels when and if the situation is really urgent,” Christine Wilberg, the director of Department for Regions, Reception and Return at the UDI told Newsweek. “The most important thing right now, however, is to find more permanent housing for the refugees.”




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