No evidence of royal wedding tourist boom

No evidence of royal wedding tourist boom
A predicted rush of tourists to Stockholm for the upcoming royal wedding has so far failed to materialise, with no more bookings than in previous years, according to hoteliers in the capital.

Maria Lycknert, from Sweden’s Hotel and Restaurant Association, says people wanting to book a hotel in Stockholm on the weekend of 19th June still have plenty to choose from:

“The hotels are not fully booked during this period. People are leasing their apartments for large amounts of money, when you can get rooms at hotels or hostels for a lot less,” Maria Lycknert tells The Local.  

The news will come as a disappointment to scores of Stockholmers hoping to make a killing by renting out their apartments. Online marketplace Blocket has over 800 adverts from Stockholmers offering their homes for rent in anticipation of a lack of rooms, with some charging astronomic rents. One owner of a 65-square metre studio apartment on Östermalm was on Wednesday asking 50,000 kronor to rent it for the week.

Yet royal-watchers could get a better deal by checking into a hotel. The four-star Premier Hotel Kung Carl on Östermalm, a short walk from the main festivities, was on Wednesday advertising double rooms for under 1,500 ($200) kronor per night on the weekend of the wedding. The Clarion Sign on Norrmalm had rooms for under 1,400 kronor. Other hotels were advertising similar rates. Those on a smaller budget could check into the Vanadis Hotel for just 636 kronor per night.

The Scandic Hotels chain has rooms available in Stockholm for the time surrounding the wedding. Silvia Adlesic, area revenue manager at Scandic Hotels, says they haven’t felt the expected pressure from the tourists:

“When the wedding first was announced there was a rush to book rooms, but since then there have been less bookings than we anticipated a year ago. There hasn’t been the same kind of demand for rooms as presented in the media.”

In fact, booking levels for the wedding period are not very different from previous years and prices have not increased markedly. Adlesic says Scandic is still expecting more bookings from individual travelers closer to the date. An initial surge of bookings when the wedding was announced was due largely to tour operators, who booked rooms to later sell them to individual travelers. Most cancellations have come from these bookings.

Silvia Adlesic also says the lack of bookings could be due to the fact that a lot of Swedes can drive 200 kilometres to be in Stockholm for the wedding and then drive home again.  

According to a press release sent out by the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association in February this year, Stockholm’s hotels and restaurants expect the royal wedding to bring in 200 million kronor for the sector. An estimate, made in February by Svensk Handel suggests 12,000 tourists will visit Stockholm for the wedding.

But while the number of tourists is lower than expected Maria Lycknert says the 200 million kronor figure is a reasonable amount to expect.

In combination with the royal wedding this summer Stockholm’s city is organizing the Love Stockholm 2010 festival. Starting on Sweden’s national holiday, June 6th, and ending on the day of the wedding, June 19th, the festival will feature music, theatre and performances by Swedish and international artists.

Love Stockholm 2010 is being held by the City of Stockholm in cooperation with various companies and culture institutions in Stockholm. The costs are shared between Stockholm’s city and a number of companies all gathered under the name Brands of Stockholm. The city estimates that it will spend 7 million kronor on the celebrations plus an additional 1 million kronor for the national holiday the 6th of June. Helena Öhman, at Stockholm City Council says it’s difficult to project the exact amount the two week celebration will bring in.

“The estimated revenues from souvenirs is 2.5 billion kronor, but this will be split between a number of places, like various companies. It is not a bulk sum that will end up in one place,” Öhman told The Local.

Lee Martin

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