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Wilderness, shopping and blondes shape Sweden's image abroad

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Wilderness, shopping and blondes shape Sweden's image abroad
14:18 CEST+02:00
When foreigners are prompted to share what they think of Sweden their thoughts wander to the great outdoors, shopping, snow and beautiful women, according to a new survey from VisitSweden.

"A typical view of Sweden still exists, but is starting to be replaced with the image of the modern and progressive way of life in Sweden," said said VisitSweden CEO Thomas Brühl in a statement.

Visit Sweden's survey involved 6,400 potential visitors from a slew of countries including Norway, Germany, France, Russia, the UK and the US, asking them to respond to the question - "What is the first thing you think about when you think of Sweden as a travel destination".

Among the replies are included the common themes of "snow", "peace and quiet", and "blond people". But in addition Sweden's variety of shopping and reasonable prices were also noted by some, along with "friendly people" and "chocolate".

Variations were great, and often contradictory, among the various nationalities responding to the survey.

Among Norwegians, Sweden is a budget shopping destination with 25 percent citing the good value on offer; the Brits meanwhile held the opposite view.

Several groups were in agreement that Sweden offers "life quality", "modernity", "forests", "lakes" and "space".

"That Sweden is so strongly associated with our nature also give us an opportunity to take a stand as a environmentally sustainable destination in the minds of travellers," Thomas Brühl said.

Other notable replies included "Greta Garbo", "mosquitoes" and "saunas".

The survey showed that Sweden is still commonly mixed up with other countries, reflected in the fact that ten percent of French respondents associated Sweden with the "fjords" and six percent of Americans with "chocolate".

VisitSweden plans to use the results of the survey, which is conducted annually, to refine its marketing of Sweden as a brand and as a tourist destination.

VisitSweden is a communications company owned equally by the Swedish Government (via the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications) and the Swedish tourism industry.

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