International tourists flock to Sweden’s mountains

An increasing number of foreign tourists are being drawn to Sweden’s mountains as internationals seek to experience the Swedish wilderness, a new survey shows.

International tourists flock to Sweden's mountains
Kebnekaise is one of the big draws. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

Two out of three mountain destinations and mountain stations in Sweden have seen an increase in foreign visitors since 2013, according to the new information published by the Mountain Safety Council of Sweden.

Popular spots like Åre and Sälen estimate the numbers will increase again this season. More than 150,000 visitors are expected over the course of the summer, with the Dutch the nationality that has increased the most.

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That creates new challenges however. “The fast-growing tourism industry places tougher demands on safety,” Per-Olov Wikberg, mountain safety coordinator from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement, noting that many are unprepared for fast changing weather conditions.

“Many also overestimate their ability to navigate the sometimes complicated mountain terrain.”

Safety information is published in English and booklets are placed in most overnight stops in the areas.

“Police mountain rescue services receive a number of alarms each year from foreign emergency services because foreign visitors don’t always know how to contact the local mountain rescue,” Wikberg explained.

Aside from the wildlife, visitors are also coming because of an increased general interest in Sweden, the survey showed.

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