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Tourism creates jobs, boosts export earnings

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Tourism creates jobs, boosts export earnings
16:33 CEST+02:00
Tourism helped to create new jobs and higher export earnings in 2009, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) reported on Tuesday.

Total tourism revenue increased by over six percent to 251.7 billion kronor ($32.87 billion) last year and created nearly 12,000 new full-time jobs, while export value, as measured by foreign visitor consumption in Sweden, rose by nearly 13 percent to 93.6 billion kronor in 2009.

This result was higher than the exports of cars, iron and steel combined, added the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association (Sveriges Hotell & Restaurang företagare, SHR).

"In addition, the development of the hospitality industry is only just beginning," said Eva Östling Ollén, presidnet of SHR. "On Wednesday, we will launch a national strategy for the Swedish hospitality industry, into which we have studied how it can best be developed by 2020."

The strategy has been developed by Svensk Turism, SHR, VisitSweden, Tillväxtverket, Swedavia, Stockholm Visitors Board, the Western Swedish Tourist Board (Västsvenska Turistrådet)/Sweden's regional tourism organisations and the Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket).

"In this way, it feels important that the industry take responsibility for future developments, as we do with national strategy," added Östling Ollén.

"We have also set ambitious goals for the industry's development until 2020, goals that, with the support of politicians and the hard efforts of entrepreneurs, may well be fulfilled," she said.

The national strategy - "Sustainable growth for companies and destinations in the Swedish tourism industry" will be launched in connection with a seminar in Almedalen.

In addition, tourism is a staff-intensive industry, Tillväxtverket wrote. Since 2000, the sector has created nearly 36,000 new full-time jobs, an increase of almost 30 percent, while total employment in Sweden increased by 4 percent in the corresponding period.

In 2009, the number of full-time workers rose to 160,000, an increase of 8 percent from the previous year. For an export-dependent country like Sweden, tourism has never before been so important for the development of the Swedish economy.

From 2000 to 2009, the export value from tourism has more than doubled, while Sweden's total exports of goods and services over the same period increased by about 43 percent in current prices.

"According to international estimates, global visitors will grow by around 4 percent per year until 2020. Sweden is well placed to take advantage of this growth," said Christina Lugnet, Tillväxtverket's director-general.

"We have attractive tourist destinations and facilities, as well as nature and culture, which, in their refined forms, are what both leisure and business travellers seek," she added.

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