Business travel agency Egencia sent out an e-mail to customers who were due to travel to Malmö on July 2nd and 3rd informing them that “reports indicate there is an ongoing security operation in response to a shooting incident that has resulted in at least three people being wounded in Holma district, in southern Malmö, on 2 July”.
“Persons in Malmö should avoid the affected area until the situation is resolved. Clients in the city are advised to exercise heightened situational awareness and monitor local media for information on current and related security operations,” it added.
A screenshot of the update.
The shooting in question occurred in the Holma suburb, not a tourist hotspot, and is believed to be gang related. As one of Egencia's customers, Malmö city council (Malmö stad) also received the e-mail warning, and they have been critical of the agency's actions.
“I think they produced an inaccurate update of what was happening. I wonder what their practices are for producing updates on other places – Stockholm, Gothenburg, Umeå, etc?” Malmö stad head of communications Anders Mellberg told The Local.
“If you want to speak about security and inform people about what they should do in relation to that, you have to be very careful, think carefully about what words you use,” he added.
Egencia’s CEO Michael Schüller explained to The Local that the company sends out updates to its customers all over the world about the destination they are travelling to – with around 50 sent out on the day of the Malmö update in question – and said that the press attention has created “a storm in a teacup”.
“I think it's a storm in a teacup. I think it's a very strong reaction to a very objective e-mail, and that we haven't made a value judgement.”
“We think it's relevant that our business travellers who find themselves in Malmö – who for example maybe are going out for a jog in the evening – get a translation in English of information, that something has happened, and that you're supposed to be careful and monitor local media,” he continued, though he did say that a “local relevance check” on whether it is necessary to update business travellers about this kind of incident could be possible in the future.
Malmö stad's Mellberg noted that Sweden and Malmö are generally safe, and that there is “an inaccurate image” of the city.
“They (Egencia) said they would reconsider their practices with these kind of warnings, and we've also offered them help if they want it when it comes to providing updates about things that happen in Malmö.”