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TOURISM

Sweden’s tourism figures on the rise for 2014

Tourism in Sweden is on the rise, with the first half of 2014 seeing a boom in visiting figures for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Sweden's tourism figures on the rise for 2014

Domestic tourists in Sweden spent 18.5 million nights on holiday across the country, an increase of 3 percent compared to the same period last year, according to figures published by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) on Friday. 

IN PICTURES: The top ten places for a Stockholm visitor

Tourists from abroad, meanwhile, stayed 5.2 million nights, meaning an increase of 5 percent. Holiday hunters have mostly preferred hotels as their accommodation of choice, with 60 percent of visitors choosing to check in, while 20 percent chose to set up a tent and camp. Ten percent headed for private accommodation and 6 percent chose hostels.

Tourists from abroad were most likely to come from neighbouring Norway, followed by Germany, Denmark, and the UK and Northern Ireland. Tourists from outside Europe grew 23 percent, with most coming from India and the US.

Indeed, tourism has been a big earner for Sweden of late, with the Scandinavian hotspot raking in 284 billion kronor ($41 billion) last year alone. 

IN PICTURES: Exploring the Baltic island of Gotland

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TOURISM

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.

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