Destinations in Sweden overlooked by the New York Times

The New York Times recently ranked the province of Dalarna in central Sweden as one of “45 places to go” in 2012. But the home of the famous wooden horse isn't the only place in Sweden worth seeing this year.

Destinations in Sweden overlooked by the New York Times
Geological Survey of Sweden; Roger Wollstadt; Allie_Caulfield/Flickr (File)

Swedish media was aflutter earlier this week in reaction to news that the humble province of Dalarna had been recommened by the “venerable” New York Times as a destination worth visiting in the coming year.

According to the paper, Dalarna features “deep forests and glimmering lakes”.

“Every brick-red farmhouse deserves its own postcard,” the New York Times opined.

Related photo gallery: Destinations in Sweden overlooked by the New York Times.

The review also mentioned the Anders Zorn museum and Mora, the Vasaloppet cross-country ski race, and the Dala-Husby Hotell as elements that can offer something for travellers looking for something else besides the “urban cool” of Stockholm and Gothenburg.

Even though Dalarna ranked second to last in the list – taking the 44th out of 45 spots – Helena Kvarnström of the Visit Dalarna tourist agency could hardly contain her excitement over the area’s recognition on the list.

“Isn’t it just cool!” she trumpeted to the local Dalarna Tidningar newspaper.

While Dalarna certainly has plenty to offer, check out the photo gallery below to find out a few other destinations around Sweden that the New York Times might also wanted to have considered for its list of places to see in 2012.

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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.