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PHOTO: MASKOT

Most tourists to Sweden are experienced travellers

SWEDEN: IN NUMBERS The growth in tourism has resulted in more than 5.8% more jobs in the tourism sector which stands for 1.5% of Sweden’s total workforce

The US market is the seventh biggest, with 549,000 visitors in 2016

During the first four months of 2017, there was a 38% growth in bed nights from the US

The biggest market is Norway, followed by Germany and Denmark

In 2016, Sweden had approximately 15.6

million bed nights from international travellers This was an increase of 2.8% from 2015 ©cybertrek 2018

What we hope to accomplish is to attract more travellers over time and to encourage them to leave the big city rim and visit nature But could this magnanimous offer end up backfiring? People may take advantage of the free to stay and roam aspect, but they may not have the same respect for the environment as the Swedes do. Could this initiative end up damaging the environment they are so proud of? Kaiser isn’t concerned about this. VisitSweden expects its guests to be respectful, visit for five to seven days and divide their time between the cities and a guided nature experience, such as a day hike or an archipelago cruise. “Travellers visiting Sweden are internationally experienced ones; they usually combine a big city trip with a few days or a week in nature,” explains Kaiser. “Usually they go on guided tours, or if they are really passionate about a certain activity, such as hiking, they prepare themselves and plan their trips in detail. What we hope to accomplish is to attract more travellers over time and to encourage them to leave the big city rim and visit nature.” Kaiser adds that the campaign urges people to be respectful: “With great freedom comes responsibility. The general rule for spending time in nature is do not disturb and do not destroy, just like in any other home.”

ON THE BUCKET LIST Although the Airbnb campaign plays up the “stay for free” aspect of wild camping, Kaiser expects most visitors will stay in tourist accommodation. “If they choose to camp for a couple of days, they are welcome. But the campaign is not aimed at free visits, but attracting new visitors and getting Sweden on people’s bucket lists.” The campaign is part of a drive from the Swedish government and Svensk Turism, to double the value of foreign visitors spending between 2010 and 2020 and to make Sweden a first choice for a prioritised target group. The campaign caught the media’s attention, with 550 publications writing about it, including Fortune, Condé Naste Traveler and the New York Post. It spread widely on social media. “This initiative is one of many more to come regarding our ecotourism offer and freedom to roam,” says Kaiser. “We believe more people deserve to experience our unique country and connect with the people living here. “Spending time in nature is good for you. As long as we treat it – and all the creatures living in it – with respect, the freedom to roam will remain and the countryside will remain accessible for future generations to enjoy.” ●

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Profile for Leisure Media

Leisure Management Volume 37 2018  

Leisure Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global leisure industry.

Leisure Management Volume 37 2018  

Leisure Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global leisure industry.