‘Fake’ hotel in Swedish resort advertised online

A hotel in the popular Swedish ski resort Åre advertised through a website, on travel blogs as well as being featured on a tourist website of the area, turned out to be fake when a local paper revealed that there has never been a hotel in that location.

'Fake' hotel in Swedish resort advertised online

”There is no such hotel in Åre,” said Lars-Börje Eriksson, CEO at Åre Destination, to local paper Östersundsposten (ÖP).

On the website,, which has since been shut down, the hotel looked very attractive to prospective tourists to central Sweden, with beautiful views of the spectacular scenery around lake Åre and reasonable prices.

According to the paper, the website was very well presented and the payments of the rooms were made through online payment service Payson.

An internet search for the hotel also came up with a travel blog praising the hotel.

This also disappeared shortly after the newspaper broke the story. It had first appeared on the internet in the beginning of December, close to when the hotel website was launched.

Searching for the hotel on the the Swedish directory and map website, it shows up as located on Årevägen 144, but according to locals, there is no hotel at that location.

Eriksson told the paper that he has heard of previous incidents when non-existing flats were advertised to unsuspecting tourists.

”But this is the first time someone has been touting a fake hotel,” he said to ÖP.

The hotel was also marketed through, a site which has information and links to the booking pages of most of Sweden’s hotels.

After ÖP contacted the Hotell Sverige, they looked into the matter and removed the ad from their site. They say they were completely taken in by the scam.

”They emailed us info about their hotel. We rang them back and the guy bought the whole concept with pictures and links. They really are very crafty,” said Peter Fridén of Hotell Sverige to ÖP.

He was about to post the hotel their bill for the ad campaign.

”But it is probably not worth it,” he said to the paper.

The matter has been reported to the police but they have yet to decide whether to begin a preliminary investigation.

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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.