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Record number of tourists flock to Sweden

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 3 Feb 2010, 10:14

Published: 03 Feb 2010 10:14 GMT+01:00

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The fact that Sweden has managed to benefit from the global recession results from a combination of four factors, Peter Terpstra, an analyst at the agency told The Local on Wednesday.

"Firstly, the recession has meant that people are continuing to travel but they are not travelling as far, the same thing change that occurred after 9/11."

"Secondly, Sweden's currency has been weak in relation to the euro and this has benefited tourism during the downturn."

Peter Terpstra underlines that these factors are fleeting and are not something on which to base a long term tourism strategy, but he added that the adoption of specific measures has also boosted Sweden as a tourist destination.

"Tourist infrastructure has improved in Sweden. I am primarily referring to improved flight connections to Europe, the largest tourist market in the world."

"Finally, Visit Sweden - the Swedish tourist board - was able to react quickly to the onset of recession and direct its efforts at our neighbouring countries."

In total, 5.8 million overnight stays were recorded in Sweden in 2009, an increase of 3.3 percent on 2008. According to UN World Tourism Organization statistics for 2010, travel to and within Europe declined by 5 percent as a whole.

The number of Danes visiting Sweden climbed by 20 percent on an annualized basis and this is, at least in part, a result of the tourist board's efforts, Peter Terpstra says.

Story continues below…

"We have a lot of people close to our borders who like to travel a lot. The Norwegians especially respond to the favourable exchange rate."

The report indicates that the recession has impacted the nature of tourism, with business traveller numbers down, and lower cost alternatives more popular.

Sweden's camp sites recorded a 6.1 percent increase in overnight stays while hotel numbers remained at 2008 levels, with revenues dropping by 5.2 percent.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:31 February 3, 2010 by Keith #5083
Danish visitors? Tourist Board??? Are you joking? With the Sek being what it is against the DKK, or the NoK, or the £ - you don't need any tourist advice!

Sweden massively UNDERSELLS itself both in Europe and further afield (eg. USA). Fantastic environment, wonderful people, civilised society. All this and cheapish food, bensin, cigs,booze, housing. Anything that is not labour intensive is economically priced in relation to the rest of the EU. There's an Abba thing going on in London now - any package holiday deals being marketed for Sweden there?

Of course, I am very very spoilt. I am an englishman and live in staggering beautiful Dalsland. I can buy a good house for £80K or less, amazing wildlife, fanatastic snow clearing services in winter,have an incredible amount of pure fresh water lakes and....not that much realistically priced holiday accomodations!!!! huh? And thereby hangs the real story.

With low cost flight companies serving Sweden quite well I do not understand that kommunes are not selling package holidays - except of course you need accomodation to go with the package. Spend money on all sorts of projects, but don't spend it on projects that import money and jobs!! You can see the crux of the matter in the figures - tourism up, hotel numbers static and losing revenue.

Ah, well - I just have to keep the forests, fishing,great summers, pure lakes,lovely people, fantastic health service,snowy winters (beautiful), to myself.
12:57 February 3, 2010 by Steggles
Don't forget one little Aussie battler down under who's been visiting Sweden for the past four years......and is booked again for August 2010.

How many visits before citizenship applies?

I wish!
14:42 February 3, 2010 by Nemesis
This is good news.

Also Sweden needs to stop being so provincial.

Sweden needs to market itself to Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Japan, China, South Korea and Canada to attract more tourists.

That would start the process of opening up the Swedish tourist industry.
14:54 February 3, 2010 by Audrian
Making a conclusion of this sort from a data based on one year is a hasty generaization. The prize money, revenue, which is an important indicator of benefits, has shown a decline.
16:02 February 3, 2010 by Keith #5083

I would entirely agree with you, to base assumptions on 1 year is absurd. So I base mine on 22 years with visitors from: USA,India,Spain,France,Finland,Denmark,Norway,Poland,Germany,Holland,Greece, and of course UK.

Family and friends that visit us in Dalsland cannot believe just how wonderful Sweden is. Many are asking about buying a place here as a holiday home.

Indeed, I myself had never come out of England until 23 years ago (I'm now 65), since which time I have visited many countries. I knew little about Sweden before I came (Abba,of course,Volvo,Saab and The Muppets!!!!). I am in awe of this country,even after 22 years, and would never consider living anywhere else.

It is my experience that many Swedes do not realise what a marvellous country they have created.In their search for even greater perfection, they can often be negative. What you have here is one of the most marketable tourist areas in the world. Just think of all the walking clubs, fishing clubs, etc. in England - WOW, they would love it here.

Over 60% is forest/coniferous woodland,

4th out of 163 countries on the Environmental Performance Index (Yale-Columbia University figures),

regularly nr. 4 in the Global Competitive Index----------

Sweden is grossly UNDERSOLD when it comes to the tourist Industry.

Perhaps the Government could consider a special 'tourist MVA rate' to help make hotels/guest houses/camping places/hytter, etc. even more competitive. I don't know if this already exists, but now would be a marvellous opportunity to create such a 'rebate'. Plus, maybe getting grants for the EU Social Fund to build a better tourist infrastructure.
16:08 February 3, 2010 by peropaco
Sweden is a fantastic tourist destination for those seeking some peace and tranquillity. There are so many beautiful places to visit. Dalarna, Skåne, Blekinge etc. If only the people in charge for those kommun's would use their heads and build activities in those areas where a visitor from other countries could enjoy; particularly on a Sunday, then I am sure the number's would increase. Another improvement to tourism would be to demonopolize systembolaget. People need to be able to buy booze if they are going to rent a winter or summer stuga.
16:10 February 3, 2010 by Beavis
Wher are they getting the "tourist" numbers from. I assume they are just made up from thin air.

The number of "Danes" ."visiting".. I suspect this is actually commuters living in Malmö and working in Copenhagen just crossing the bridge.

THere needs to be a train conection put in for Skavsta, I suspect there is now more visitos flying through it than Arlanda.
16:18 February 3, 2010 by sissygirl
Thank you Sweden for having such a beautiful country to visit and for being a civilized society (it's nice not to worry about being murdered or robbed while on vacation) and for not being so ridiculously expensive. In London the price for one person to eat at McDonald's is 20 euros!!!! First of all, I don't want McDonald's when I visit a different place, but how can I eat local food at such outrageous rates? I don't Sweden is cheap like eastern Europe orMexico, but Sweden is resonable :).
17:41 February 3, 2010 by square
Sissygirl 20 euro's for Macca's in London, you must have a healthy apetite
17:48 February 3, 2010 by Swedesmith
Hey, someone wake up and give Keith a job in the tourist bureau!

I agree with you Keith. I lived for a bit over a year in Sweden, beautiful Öland to be exact, and I loved it. As soon as I have enough money saved up, I'm coming back. Absolutely a wonderful country.
18:01 February 3, 2010 by sissygirl
@Square I have teenage sons
21:42 February 3, 2010 by Keith #5083

You should visit Dalsland.Our quality of life and 'simple'(translated - caring) values could well be exported to...hmmm, which modern western country could do with some political accountability, good financial management, a brilliant (not means tested) health and education system, better roads, bridges that don't collapse, being one of the leading Broadband countries,....maybe you could suggest a country that you know. hehehehe.

Just joshin'.

Unfortunately, looking for visitors is necessary.The industrialised society has changed and the future here lies in marketing the natural and social wonders of this country. I also love Sweden and am perfectly wiling to 'share my corner of it' if it helps others have a better quality of life. Swedes have an enviable reputation of welcoming others from less fortunate lands, helping and supporting them until they can stand on their own (this I have seen, not experienced personally).It's just to extend that a little to embrace tourism.

#Swedesmith - thanks for your comment. Maybe they should at least think of having a 'panel of foreigners' (who live here) to consult with the Tourist Board. Often we do not see all the good things around us when we live in the same place all our life.
04:56 February 4, 2010 by JoeSwede
Good News. Sweden is a great country to take a vacation. Having a weak krona can only help it get through this recession. A benefit from not having adopted the Euro.
20:52 February 5, 2010 by morchad
Good job Keith, maybe in Discussions we'll start something together on helping this topic.

I absolutely love this country and ditto to all of your points!

I think one of the main stumbling blocks is the international perception of Sweden being really expensive (I guess if you come here for a booze-up then it is- which has its benefits keeping the dreaded stag parties away)
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