New York tops Swedish holiday wish list

New York City and other US destinations have become increasingly popular when Swedes plan their weekend getaways, new statistics published on Wednesday show.

New York tops Swedish holiday wish list

Every third Swede plans a foreign holiday this summer with destinations such as Antalya in Turkey and Mallorca in Spain among the perennial favourites, according to a survey of Swedish travel habits compiled by Novus Opinion and published by travel agent Ticket on Wednesday.

Ticket reports that its bookings for the summer have increased by 10 percent on last year and big city getaways are becoming increasingly popular, even during the summer months.

“You could say that these statistics show that the good times have returned to the travel industry, on the back of a general economic upturn,” Martin Durnik at Ticket told The Local on Wednesday.

Ticket has noted that the US is firmly in favour with Swedish travelers this year, with bookings to New York increasing by 70 percent, while bookings to the US as a whole up by 50 percent.

“I think there is a pent up demand among Swedes to travel to the US. Swedes like the US and want to travel there and the strong krona has made this more affordable,” Durnik said.

Ticket notes that after a period of cautious spending on travel and tourism and one of the harshest winters on record, Swedish consumer confidence is on the up and Swedes are regaining the travel bug.

“We clearly note that Swedes want to get out and travel in the summer after the record cold winter which we have had… many people are choosing longer trips and after a period of caution are willing to spend a little more money on their holidays,” Durnik said.

Martin Durnik explained the popularity of city destinations in that shopping is once again a reason to travel, with Ticket noting that popular “Swedish” destinations such as London are also back in fashion, once again thanks to strength of the krona.

“This is not the only the reason, but it is a strong contributory factor.”

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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.