An increasing number of tourists visit Sweden, and tourism consumption reached 337 billion Swedish kronor in 2018. That was roughly 20 billion kronor more compared to the previous year, and over 100 billion kroner more than in 2008. The positive development of the tourism industry contributes a significant amount to the Swedish gross domestic product (GDP) and is forecast to reach 603 billion kronor in 2028. Aside from the direct monetary contribution, the tourism industry creates jobs all over Sweden, and is expected to employ 674 thousand people as of 2028.
The reason behind the exponential growth is the continuous increase in tourists visiting the country. Approximately 65 million overnight stays were registered in Sweden in 2018, out of which 17.3 million overnight stays were made by international tourists. Most tourists came from the neighboring country Norway, counting nearly 3.5 million overnight stays that same year. German visitors came in second, followed by Danish tourists. Considering the traveling habits of Swedes, however, Norway is nowhere as popular. In fact, Norway ranked nine among Swedes’ favorite holiday destinations, while Spain was the most attractive country for them to visit.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) broke out in March 2020, the tourism industry faced several unexpected problems. While Sweden chose to neither implement a lockdown nor close its borders, unlike many other countries, the number of overnight stays were still strikingly low from March onwards. At the same time, Swedes showed greater interest towards vacationing at home. When asked about which countries they would visit over the next six months, Sweden was the most common answer. When and whether the tourism industry will recover from the global coronavirus crisis remains unknown. Nevertheless, as many countries have started to reopen, prospects currently look better than at the peak of the epidemic.
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Ana M. López
Research expert covering travel, tourism and hospitality