The survey was conducted by the official tourist body VisitSweden who quizzed 7,000 people who said they were interested in a Swedish holiday. Respondents came from Nordic neighbours Norway, Finland and Denmark along with Germany, Netherlands, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Russia and the USA.
VisitSweden said the purpose of the survey was to find out what people associated with the country aside from nature. None of the the countries surveyed from the 11 nations listed nature as one of the man things that they associated specifically with Sweden
“In this study we asked respondents to compare five destinations well known for nature tourism. So, Sweden stands out as modern but also as a destination that is good for shopping and design compared to other destinations also strong in nature experiences,” Bitte Olsson, Corporate Communication Manager with Visit Sweden told The Local.
She added: “From other studies we see that Sweden´s image as a destination of nature experiences is as strong as before.”
Local food, like traditional favourite Swedish meatballs, was also low on the list of associations for potential tourists compared to Denmark's stronger position in this study.
When asked to rank the three things they most associated with Sweden, British people surveyed said; modern, design and openness.
Meanwhile, Americans listed healthy lifestyle at number one followed by modern and design. Russians also placed healthy lifestyle at number one along with caring.
Scandinavian cousins Norway and Denmark both ranked “good shopping” as the number one trait they associated with their Swedish neighbours. Both Nordic countries also placed “child-friendly” in their top three while Norwegians added that Sweden provided good value for money.
“It is of course interesting to see how different nationalities responded to the questions and how they stand out from each other,” said Olsson.
When asked if the survey reflected a change in attitudes towards Sweden Olsson said it “does not.”
“It gives us new information on how Sweden stands out in the competition among other countries. The study does not give us a comparison between preferred activities in Sweden,” Olsson told The Local.
“The survey helps us to point out what makes Sweden special in the eyes of our target audience compared to similar destinations, for example modern and rich in shopping and design,” she added.