Sweden Travel and Tourism
The U.S. Travel Association estimates that spending by international travelers to/in the United States reached $255 billion and directly supported 1.2 million American jobs in 2019.
The U.S has been the number one long-haul destination for Swedes for many years. Sweden was one of the 18 largest inbound travel markets originating from abroad. The pre-pandemic availability of low-cost flights originating in Scandinavia contributed to making travel less of a luxury and more of a Swedish lifestyle. Other contributing factors were a strong Swedish economy, a high level of disposable income, and generous paid leave (minimum 5 weeks annually, plus 8-10 national holidays). These conditions allowed for frequent and generous spending on travel and related activities. Due to the ensuing effects of travel restrictions and quarantines, there are currently no non-stop flights available from Sweden to the U.S. However, in June SAS resumed non-stop flights to the U.S. from Copenhagen, Denmark.
Life post-Covid19 will likely mean less availability of non-stop and low-cost flights from Sweden to fewer U.S. destinations. However, given the strong cultural and economic ties that Sweden and the U.S. share, the fact that Swedes are excellent English speakers, experienced and curious repeat travelers that enjoy the American lifestyle, it is likely that Swedish interest in traveling to the U.S. will return quickly. The destinations that have been the first and most successful in promoting their Covid19-safe and crowd-controlled destinations will likely receive the first Swedish travelers.
The long and dark winters contribute to Swedes traveling to sunny destinations. In 2018, roughly five percent of Sweden’s population or 506,000 traveled to the U.S., mainly to New York City, California and Florida. This number represents a three percent decline compared to the previous year and is mainly due to an unfavorable currency rate. Despite this decline, in 2018 Swedes spent an average of $3,400 per person, or roughly $1.72 billion in total on U.S. travel and tourism related goods and services, including passenger air transport. Activities that Swedes enjoy include shopping, sightseeing, small towns, art galleries/museums, national parks/monuments and fine dining.
Sweden is among the most connected countries in the world, with 96 percent of internet users online on a daily basis. Travel is the eCommerce category that Swedes spend the most on. Many Swedes use airlines, online travel agencies and personal recommendations as informational sources when planning their travel. Swedish newspapers and magazines regularly run articles highlighting U.S. destinations, culinary experiences and adventures. There are a number of Swedish tour operators that offer themed travel for travelers with interest in golf, music, (classic) cars, racing, adventure, culinary, wine, history and sports.
Before the pandemic but likely also after, the best way to reach the Swedish market is either by identifying a qualitative representative and/or participating in local travel trade events. The Discover America Sweden Committee organizes workshops in four Swedish cities annually: Stockholm, Norrkoping/Linkoping/Jonkoping, Malmo and Gothenburg. Travel News Market in Stockholm is a B2B/C event, held annually in November. In 2020, however, the majority of these will likely be cancelled/postponed until 2021.
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