Private holiday rentals boom in Sweden

The number of Swedes who are renting private holiday accommodation in Sweden from the likes of Airbnb has jumped dramatically this summer, according to a new survey.

Private holiday rentals boom in Sweden
A youth hostel in Sundsvall, central Sweden. Photo: Helena Landstedt / TT
More than one in three Swedes, or 37 percent, rented privately in Sweden this year, compared to just 27 percent last year, according to the survey commissioned from pollsters Sifo by online buy and sell site Blocket, Svenska Dagbladet reports.
The increase appears to tally with figures from Airbnb which show that the number of homes being rented out in Sweden was 13,000 in May, a rise of 69 percent since 2015.
But the rise in popularity of private rentals doesn’t seem to be hurting the hotel industry. Figures from tourist industry organisation Visita show that the number of occupied hotel rooms in Sweden has grown every year for the past three years.
The explanation for the positive trend for private rentals and hotels may lie in the overall visitor statistics for Sweden.
While there are no figures for the summer of 2016 as yet, last year was a bumper year for Swedish tourism. The total number of overnight stays in the country – including hotels, campsites and private accommodation – rising by 7 percent, according to figures from Statistics Sweden. 
Domestic tourism was up 6 percent, while overnight stays by foreign visitors were up 10.5 percent.

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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.

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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.