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Deteriorating Security Situation Impacts Swedish Tourism

The Importance of Tourism in Sweden

The tourism industry plays a significant role in Sweden’s social economy. It employs over 100,000 people and according to 2021 figures, Swedish tourism consumption amounted to SEK 249 billion. A large portion of this money is spent by Swedes traveling domestically, but around 57 billion comes from foreign tourists. In an average year, Sweden receives an estimated 18 million visits from abroad.

Sweden’s Strong Brand

Susanne Andersson, CEO of Visit Sweden, notes that Sweden has “a strong brand for a long time” and is seen as “a safe and beautiful country.” She emphasizes its Swedish lifestyle and freedom of speech as two strong appeals for travelers. This year, the tourism industry is projected to reach new record levels in terms of turnover and the number of guest nights—an outcome likely attributed to the weak krone exchange rate and extreme heat in southern Europe.

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Recent Security Concerns

Unfortunately, the media has recently been reporting on shootings, Koran burnings, and other security concerns in Sweden. Säpo has assessed that the security risk in Sweden has increased. This could have a lasting impact on the country’s tourism industry. Susanne Andersson, a tourism expert, says that there are two layers to Sweden’s image: a basic image that is difficult to change, and a short-term picture created by media sources.

The Impact on Tourism

It remains to be seen whether the recent security situation will have a lasting effect on Sweden’s tourism industry. However, Susanne Andersson acknowledges that if this negative image continues to spread it could become problematic for the country’s economy as a whole.

Visit Sweden’s Response

Visit Sweden is actively trying to counter this negative short-term picture through public relations processes. The organization is working to promote Sweden’s positive image and to reassure potential tourists that the country is still a safe and welcoming place to visit.

Business Sweden’s Response

Business Sweden has condemned the Koran burnings and reminded people of Swedish companies’ values. These values include entrepreneurial spirit, cooperation, and respect. Business Sweden also urged companies to maintain close dialogue with customers and partners in foreign markets.

The Future of Tourism in Sweden

The future of tourism in Sweden is uncertain. However, if the country can successfully address the recent security concerns, it is likely to remain a popular tourist destination. The strong brand that Sweden has built over the years will be an important asset in this regard.

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