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Sweden's foreign tourist figures fail to impress

TT/The Local/og · 21 Mar 2012, 10:36

Published: 21 Mar 2012 10:36 GMT+01:00

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Back in 2009, the Swedish tourism industry expected turnover from tourists to Sweden would double to 500 billion kronor ($74.4 billion) by 2020.

However, lackluster spending by foreign tourists has forced the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry (RTS) to lower their expectations to 451 billion.

“It’s the foreign tourism that’s not growing at the speed we anticipated,” said Jan Lundin of the RTS to Dagens Industi newspaper (DI).

“Swedish tourism continues to grow, however”.

In fact, tourism in Sweden is continuing to grow as an overall trend, and experts insist that there is no crisis, as tourism statistics in Sweden have never been higher.

It’s just that expectations have not been met.

With a growth rate expected of 6.4 percent per year, analysists reasoned that a 515 billion kronor turn over could be expected in 2020, but last year’s growth of only 3 percent suggests this will be unlikely.

For the predicted doubling of tourist sales by 2020, the yearly percentage increase would need to rise to seven percent each year for the next eight years.

In concrete figures, this means an increase of 25 billion kronor a year, RTS wrote in a statement.

Story continues below…

“The industry has set high goals, and this generates creativity. We cannot act alone here, and it's time join hands with convention, culture and sports industry,” said Lundin in a statement.

“Together, we can create more reasons to travel here, to take part in community building, and to contribute to the development of the regions that don’t only attract more visitors, but even become attractive places to live and work."

TT/The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:40 March 21, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
If the "experts" are disappointed with foreign tourism to Sweden, they might well consider that the Swedish krona's foreign exchange rate has recently been strong against major currencies:the euro, UK sterling, the US dollar..........

I think folks want to get as much as they can for their money
11:44 March 21, 2012 by john mahon
Sweden is not considered as a tourist destination in Ireland,and is really never advertised.My wife and I lived there for twelve years and know how beautiful it is.. Air lingus is now flying into Arlanda,so maybe more people will begin to visit. We loved it there. Irish people would think of Sweden as a cold and expensive place.
12:42 March 21, 2012 by rcullum
It's very simple. Holiday makers like to eat and drink while they are away, the cost of eating and drinking in Sweden is REALLY high - it is a huge issue for Sweden to be a real holiday destination.
12:49 March 21, 2012 by ?????
Why would anyone choose Sweden for holidays? It's got bad weather, it's expensive, and, well, there aren't that many things to see around compared to Paris or London for example. If someone wants to see the nature why not go to Norway that's way better? I mean, Sweden is an OK place to live but why would a tourist decide to come here?
12:51 March 21, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Stockholm tourism would increase if they ever complete a good ABBA museum. which could be combined with a nightclub or disco or live venue for indie pop music or whatever. And the Musuean and city would instantly get world wide publicity if any of the former ABBA members were involved, especially if they sang together to mark the official opening, or showed up every now and then for impromptu unplugged concerts.

The other problem for Stockholm, and maybe all of Sweden, is that, in the weeks before and after midsummer, when Sweden's summer weather is the best, Stockholm becomes nearly a ghost town, with many entertainment and cultural facilities not even operating.
13:01 March 21, 2012 by Cephalectomy
no wonder with such unpolite working people
13:59 March 21, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
I know a bunch of Italian guys who come for the weekends to party in Stureplan and hook up with swedish girls. According to some guys I met, they land a few a weekend and travel here once a month. Maybe Sweden could promote in Italy even more and get droves of the douche bags to come over?
13:59 March 21, 2012 by Abe L
Yup, Swedes are rude and at the peak of the season they are all out fishing. No wonder it's not appealing to tourists. This won't change until they break the june+august off bubble and force people to be nice and helpful to customers, perhaps break the news to them that those annoying people pay their salaries.
14:07 March 21, 2012 by Vill
Maybe more Westerners would travel to Sverige if the women would just shave their damn arm pit hair! :P
14:56 March 21, 2012 by RobinHood
You would have thought the "capital of Scandinavia" would have done better, wouldnt you?
15:33 March 21, 2012 by OUIJA
Stockholm, the "boring capital of Scandinavia", especially in the months of June, July and August. From September on, is worse, but still, Stockholm is the boring capital of Scandinavia. One thing is for sure. Sweden has the more "service oriented" people in the world. They ignore you because they are talking by phone or whatever excuse they can find. They are rud, unpolite and "stängd i huvudet". The coin simply does not fall in.

Norwegians are still on the floor. They have not recovered They keep on laughing and laughing. Danes are about to join them.
16:19 March 21, 2012 by Migga
The growth is up and at an alltime high. By the looks of the comments one would think the figures were down and at an alltime low.

I think people would like to visit Sweden because of it`s unique history, culture, nature and people. The blonde girls espescially.
16:26 March 21, 2012 by Achilles7
Post # 4 says it perfectly: Stockholm is a great city in which to live, but not so great if you come as a tourist. Eating out is ridiculously expensive and, let's be honest, there aren't really a huge number of sights to see in Stockholm. You could do it all in about two days. On the other hand, you could spend two months in London and still not experience everything.
16:40 March 21, 2012 by OUIJA
#12 @ Migga

But the blonds are too expensive, even for a tourist with lots of Euros and Dollars and they are not such a hot deal. Better in Spain, Italy and France and without being presumptuous, assuming, confident, opinionated, arrogant, assumptive, self righteous, conceited and big headed as a Swedish excessively valued woman.

Go out and sell Sweden and you will certainly starve. In many parts of the world they do not even know if Sweden is a country or a certain type of exotic food. Some ask: "Sweden? Where they manufacture Rolex watches?

of the Swedish "blonds"
17:08 March 21, 2012 by stevo1
most Aussies think Sweden is Switzerland. Sweden needs to educate the world that it is not Switzerland. Seems Switzerland is getting a big chunk of the tourists who make this simple mistake.

And, really, no Aussie in his right mind would ever dream of traveling for 24 hours solid to get here any way - unless it's for a woman...
18:53 March 21, 2012 by CharlieStockholm
I was just in London and Paris and forgot how many sights a city could have (after living in Stockholm for 2 years, which I love).

Nobody back in the US has thought to come here for vacation. It's "cold" and "expensive" and in the short tourist time, there isn't much happening.

Travel in Europe is already robbery and people don't engage tourists, for example, you get no cultural insight or engagement. You get expensive hotels, okay weather hopefully, OK museums...
18:55 March 21, 2012 by Rishonim
It seems the Royal family are not so good for business after all;-)
20:27 March 21, 2012 by johan rebel
I live in Sweden, but I do not vacation there.
20:41 March 21, 2012 by skatty
"It's the foreign tourism that's not growing at the speed we anticipated,…"

"Swedish tourism continues to grow, however"

In fact, tourism in Sweden is continuing to grow…

It's just that expectations have not been met.

And at the end:

"Together, we can create more reasons to travel here …"

Now damn anybody, who doesn't give me a reason!
00:34 March 22, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Whoa ... what a sea of negative posts, including my own slightly negative post number 5, actually, about the lack of an ABBA museum.

So now I will expose myself to attack and ridicule by trying to emphasize a few positive aspects. In my opinion some of the pluses of Stockholm or Sweden for tourists and/or residents, are:

- Stockholm is one of the most beautiful capital cities in the World.

- Sweden's women are astonishingly beautiful, which adds immensely to the city's beauty, and to the beauty of all places in Sweden.

- The whole Harbour area in the summer has an engaging and moveable pic-nic + ice-cream + sail-boaty feel to it.

- The enthusiasm of almost all young Swedes to speak English with fluent English speakers is a bonus.

- People here do a lot of sports, in both summer and winter, and are noticeably more fit on average than where I grew up,

- The air and water is cleaner here than in many cities this size, with no smoking in bars and restaurants, and people can swim, sunbathe, and grill all along the shore all summer.

- Public transport is good, and if you live in the center you can easily get around by bike, and bike back home in 'daylight' at almost 11pm around midsummer.

- There is no limit to how far you can take your own sports endeavors, i.e. the Swedish Classic + kayaking, running races, long distance skating, free outdoor ice hockey on the bandy surface at Zinkensdamm all winter, etc..

- Stockholm has a good film festival every fall, and the Stockholm Open Tennis tournament, that brings in players like Nadal, Federer, Söderling.

- Midsummer celebration can be a lot of fun out in the archipelago

- Classical Music and Ballet at the Opera house (prices are reasonable), and many of the big acts (Springsteen, Elton John, McCartney) make stops at Globen.

- A few rather unique museums: Like the Vasa and the Nobel, and Skansen for children.

- People complain that dinners are expensive, and that is true, but there are many great deals at lunchtime all over the city. And almost regardless of the cost, Julboard and all the delicious varieties of herring every Christmas is always a highlight for me.
01:22 March 22, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
If there were truly only SWEDES in Sweden, then tourism would explode. Guys wanna see blonde haired, blue eyed girls...not arab women with headscarfs.
01:25 March 22, 2012 by tamohamo
Sweden is a great innovative country it is best for living and education it has the best nature with beautiful forests.... However it is not much toristy place but one can enjoy visiting sweden ....
08:54 March 22, 2012 by phil23456
Yeah, lets all come to Sweden and tour the Islamic ghettos.
09:26 March 22, 2012 by Stonebridge
"...experts, who been forced to dial down ..."

What? More Google translate?
09:26 March 22, 2012 by cogito
How many times have you heard that the wonderful royal family lures tourists to Sweden. Not.

Stieg Larsson (Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo, etc) has done more for Swedish tourism than all the numerous government-subsidized tourist agencies put together.
10:09 March 22, 2012 by ladyontop
As for the myth of blond girls,ever wonder why there aren't equal amount of 'blond guys'? I used to tell everyone how many blond are in Stockholm,until once im a party and asked about their hair root colour.turned out,all the blond girls in the party had their hair bleached.they were all real blond when they were kids,but now turned to this 'rat colour' as they told me so they bleach their hair all the time.

Anyway there age still more blond here plus the fake ones lets hope they help tourism more.
11:28 March 22, 2012 by Frank Arbach
Simon D's opening comment perfectly sums up the situation. Recent strength of the Swedish kronor, against many major currencies, has meant foreign tourists will pay much more than they would elsewhere. Consequently they may well go elsewhere for a holiday.

Sweden's a good place for Swedes to visit I suppose... Lol!!
11:41 March 22, 2012 by skogsbo
you can't compare Sweden or Stockholm to other cities or countries and certainly not London or Paris, they are on a different scale.

Sweden lends itself to road trips as there so much to see and do throughout the whole country. Campervan trips NZ style would work well in summer, fly in up north zig zag down over 2,3,4 weeks and leave your van at Malmo, flying home from Copenhagen or Malmo airport, perfect.

London as tourist resort, yeah if you like £20 entrance fees for everything and cramped public transport.
13:22 March 22, 2012 by Prat
Gotta laugh at stevo1's comment -- most Aussies think Sweden is Switzerland.

Relaxing in Viennese coffeeshops & no time to study geography, eh Stevo?

Seriously, these mistakes are too common... Venice & Vienna, Sweden & Switzerland & Swaziland, Australia & Austria & Austin ...

Bad place marketing. I hope nation-states dwindle so we can first all be human, then residents of a (hopefully dynamic) region.

Oz is great in Swedish wintertime!
14:43 March 22, 2012 by Vill
Wait....you mean to tell me the upper class safari tours didn't make tourism skyrocket? I am puzzled....
16:12 March 22, 2012 by libertarianism
Perhaps the tourist commission should hire a few hundred "blond" people and plant them throughout the most popular tourist destinations? Beyond wigs, additional work attire might include girdles and well-padded push-up bras for the ladies. Shoulder pads and prosthetic biceps for the gents. There should be a high frequency of folk costumes as well. Tourists love folk costumes. Folk costumes and fire. I therefore propose at least one floating funeral pyre each summer. I think a lot of people would pay to be burned on a Viking ship.
21:50 March 22, 2012 by jennyann
my daughter is working as an aupair and i have visited. i really like Stockholm.. There is so much variety from the typical tourist areas of Gamla Stan to Sodermalm and each is to his own, For a typical tourist it is a clean with interesting sites but you have to go off the beaten track to see the real Stockholm. Perhaps the tourist information should publicise the different areas. I found in general the people of Stockholm not very helpful and reserved. The most helpful were Swedes who were not from Stockholm
09:29 March 23, 2012 by Ambre
Sweden is so S ** t that even tourists dont want to come anymore, veryyyy understandable!!!!!
09:53 March 23, 2012 by CosmoKramar
I blame the fästingar.
14:49 March 23, 2012 by Migga
@ Amber

What are you talking about? Did you read the article?

Sweden just recorded an all time high in tourists coming here. Open your eyes. While the world is burning, Sweden stands firm.
19:42 March 23, 2012 by SeaBunnie
I think the analysts just had too big of eyes, with $$ in their eyes as they blinked, when they made their calculations! lol They need to be a bit more realistic. Better to undershoot than overshoot your estimations.

I've tried to encourage many to come here to Sweden. Everyone seems to want to go where the temps are hot!! Not me! I hate the heat, so the spring and summer here in Sweden is just perfect for me!
20:45 March 23, 2012 by USARoadWarrior
As an American who has just returned from a visit to Stockholm and Sweden, I would much rather be in Stockholm than London or the vastly overrated Paris.

Stockholm has so many sights and interesting museums (especially if you are a history buff) that I wish I had more time. There is no other major large capital city that is as clean, efficient, and with helpful people everywhere than Stockholm...and likewise the rest of Sweden.

And, for any American, you have to be an idiot to have difficulty getting around in the nation....everyone speaks English (except for the attendant at the Bredang Tunnelbana station...but still quite helpful). Unlike many other European places, it does not feel cramped or super-congested when outside.

As for being expensive...all Euro cities and nations are expensive for an American. At least with Stockholm, if you take some time to look around...you can find good deals on meals (especially lunch/midday meals). I personally have no problem getting food at a 7-Eleven...and its great for a cheap fika.

And, Sweden is doing a great thing on twitter with their weekly @Sweden guest commentary. Some of them are quite hilarious! If you are on twitter you should check it out @sweden

No, I am not with the Swedish Govt...though, if they are hiring, I would love to work PR for their tourism. It is a beautiful nation with much to offer
16:20 March 25, 2012 by sunnchilde
Maybe next time you should concentrate on making realistic tourism goals? That way you won't be so embarrassingly far off the mark.
22:37 March 25, 2012 by keving
i once made a visit to stockholm and it is a wonderful city but i found the local people to be very rude even the hotel staff were very cold heart people. i made a visit to the vasa museum whitch was very impressive. in terms of being bad in value i found that there is no real difference compared to big citys .eg. london manchester toulouse.
16:32 March 28, 2012 by EP
@ Reason abd Realism

People are more fit etc. is one of the reasons to visit Stockholm? Are you serious?I guess if people are devoid of personality or sexiness, then being fit is a an admirable quality ...
02:02 March 29, 2012 by willowsdad
I've never been to Sweden, but I smoke and Sweden's government has made it abundantly clear that I am not welcome. So I vacation where I am.

Also, though I hear that Swedes very much enjoy a drink, that same government tries to tax and regulate alcohol out of existence. This is also not much of an enrticement.

I'm sure Sweden has a lot to recommend it, but at the end of the day, one wants to relax in comofrt with a drink and a smoke. It's kind of a dealbreaker if one can't.
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