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Sweden gives green light to Egypt travel

Sweden's foreign ministry lifted its advisory against travel to tourist resorts on Egypt's Red Sea coast late on Monday.

Sweden gives green light to Egypt travel

However, the ministry continues to discourage Swedes from embarking on non-essential travel to other parts of the country.

Separately, Swedish tour operators have no plans to resume cancelled departures before the end of April as announced earlier this month.

“We advise against non-essential travel to Egypt except to tourist resorts. In those areas, we see that order has been restored,” Joakim Larsson of the ministry’s press office told news agency TT late on Monday.

The ministry defines “non-essential travel” as tourism and visiting friends. The previous warning advising against “all travel” also included business travel.

“We are always conducting an ongoing evaluation of the security situation. When we judge that there is permanent order, we will conduct a reassessment,” said Larsson.

Swedish tour operators contacted by TT reiterated that they have no plans to resume interrupted trips. Apollo had previously cancelled all trips to Egypt until the end of April.

“The ministry does not change anything for us at the present time. We could possibly arrange a few trips a little earlier in April, but no decision has been made,” said communications director Kajsa Moström.

Detur has cancelled all trips for the season following the earlier advice from the ministry. There is no indication that they will resume departures anytime soon.

“We have just refunded all the money to customers. It is not as easy as just taking a flight there and back,” said Viveca Bjorkman, marketing manager at Detur.

Earlier, Solresor had also decided to cancel trips for the season and will probably not start up again immediately following the decision.

“There are still advisories against Cairo and Luxor and they are a big part of the journey,” said communications director Pauline Berndtsson.

Fritidsresor will resume trips during the summer season starting at Easter. Ving will continue with its previous plans and resumes flights to Egypt on May 2nd.

The Swedish embassy in Cairo encourages Swedish citizens still in the country to register their presence by email or telephone.

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TOURISM

Sweden launches bid to become world’s top tourism destination by 2030

Forget the pyramids, the canals of Venice or the Eiffel Tower – the Swedish government has presented a plan to make Sweden the world's most attractive tourism destination by 2030 – but it's not yet clear how.

Sweden launches bid to become world's top tourism destination by 2030
Many tourists are attracted to Sweden because of its nature. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

In a press conference on Monday, Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation Ibrahim Baylan outlined the new strategy, which aims to make Sweden “the world’s most sustainable and attractive tourism destination built on innovation” by 2030.

Baylan referred to Sweden as a country which “is usually ranked as one of the world’s most innovative countries”, which he argued can “create value for the tourism industry”.

According to Baylan, the strategy builds on “sustainability’s three dimensions – it has to be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable”. The strategy will also “tie into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030”, he said.

Topics covered by the new tourism strategy include the climate impact of tourism, equality and inclusion in the tourism industry and the importance of preserving shared resources such as national parks and sustainable nature tourism such as fishing and hunting.

The press release highlights the importance of natural tourism, explaining that the pandemic has led to people visiting natural and cultural environments “to a greater extent than before”, increasing wear and tear to natural areas.

DISCOVER SWEDEN: The Local’s guide to Sweden’s top destinations and hidden gems

Tourism is an important industry for Sweden, providing employment in both urban and rural areas, as well as generating wealth – before the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism industry represented on average 2.7 percent of Sweden’s GDP per year. The tourism industry also employs a high amount of people from foreign backgrounds – making up over a third (34 percent) of all employees in the industry.

During the pandemic, overnight stays declined in almost every Swedish municipality, with the biggest declines seen in Sweden’s larger cities and border municipalitites.

The government’s plans also include a focus on jobs and skill development, so that workers have the right qualifications for the industry – this reflects issues currently faced by the restaurant and hotel industry in finding skilled workers in the wake of the pandemic. 

There are currently no details as to how the government will achieve this strategy, or indeed how it will measure success. But Sweden is aiming high if it wants to be the world’s most attractive tourist destination by 2030. In 2019, it was ranked the 54th top tourist destination in the world by the UN World Tourism Organisation.

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