Weak krona draws in more foreign tourists

UPDATED: Foreign tourists were able to get more kronor for their dollars, pounds and other currencies this summer, contributing to a hike in the number of visitors from countries including the UK and China.

Weak krona draws in more foreign tourists
A rooftop view of Stockholm. Photo: Simon Paulin/Image Bank Sweden
The number of overnight stays in Swedish hotels from foreign visitors between June and the end of August was up by 8.6 percent compared to the same period last year, a report by the Swedish hospitality industry's trade association Visita has revealed.
According to Visita's research, Norwegians and Germans made up the largest proportion of foreign visitors. It also noted a marked rise in the number of overnight stays from British tourists (up by 20.3 percent) and those from China (up by 37.5 percent).
Researchers reported that krona had weakened against a number of major currencies in recent months and concluded that this had had a major impact on more tourists deciding to head to the Nordic country.
While a year ago $100 for example would have bought you around 700 Swedish kronor, visitors were able to cash in the same amount for well over 800 Swedish kronor this summer. 
In a country known for its high hotel, restaurant and alcohol prices, this meant that tourists felt the pinch less than they would have done in previous years.
However the weak krona remains bad news for many foreign professionals currently working in Sweden, who have seen their salaries and savings tumble when converted into pounds, dollars, Chinese Yuan and other currencies over the past twelve months.

A roof with a view in Stockholm. Photo: Simon Paulin/Image Bank Sweden
Visita said on Monday that it had detected a slight dip in the number of overnight stays made by Swedes this summer, reporting a drop of 0.8 percent.
It said that rain had been a key factor, with Swedish campsites in particular noting a huge drop in visitor numbers during the soggy summer, despite record bookings earlier in the year. Preliminary figures suggest a 8.2 percent dip on last year, when much of Sweden spent months basking in a heatwave.
The figures back up separate data released last month which showed that rising numbers of Swedes had flown abroad in search of sunshine.
Almost 3.4 million people travelled to or from one of the ten hubs run by Sweden's state-owned airport operator Swedavia in the month of July, an increase by nine percent – or 275,000 travellers in real terms – compared to the same period in 2014.
“A contributing factor is obviously the bad weather. People have started to go abroad to find some of the much-needed sun after a tough winter season,” Swedavia press spokeswoman Charlotte Periasamy told Sveriges Radio at the time.


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.

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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.