In a forthright conversation with Susanne Andersson, CEO Visit Sweden, Travel And Tour World attempts to get her insights on the country’s tourism scene and the ‘geographical markets they focus on to strengthen’ Sweden as an attractive and sustainable destination.
What are the attractions that make Sweden a must travel destination for global tourists?
Susanne Andersson: Sweden’s accessible nature, due to the freedom to roam, Sweden’s a unique combination of natural beauty, cultural richness, outdoor activities, and our lifestyle.
Share with our readers your plans for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) world congress to be arranged in Sweden next year?
Susanne Andersson: Visit Sweden are very honoured and delighted that the GSTC´s Global conference will be held in Stockholm next year. During the week of the GSTC Global Conference, Visit Sweden in collaboration with The Swedish Agency for Regional and Economic growth would aim this opportunity to focus and encourage collaboration within the Swedish industry to strengthen a more purposeful travel. As a host destination Visit Sweden has put together a program concerning, congress premises, evening arrangements and also suggestions to the GSTC organization, concerning themes and potential speakers for the content.
The welcome reception will be arranged at the historical, stately, and beautiful City Hall, known from the Nobel banquet. The congress itself will be held at The Royal Djurgården, an area in the middle of Stockholm, where many museums and attractions are located. At Royal Djurgården they have been working together for long-term sustainable development for several years. 2022 they received the Green Destination Platinum award for structures work accordance with the UN Sustainability Goals. The closing dinner will be at the Vasa Museum, where you find a warship well preserved from 1628.
Which geographical markets do you focus on to strengthen Sweden as an attractive and sustainable destination?
Susanne Andersson: Visit Sweden is focusing on reaching out to a certain target group, rather than attracting people living in certain geographical areas. Our target group is global travellers, curious explorers with a more sustainable mindset.
As we are not able to promote Sweden in all countries in the world, we focus on markets with greater value to the general Swedish export industry, where we know that the interest of Sweden is higher than in other places. Such as UK, Germany, the German speaking parts of Austria and Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, the French speaking parts of Belgium, parts of USA, parts of India and China. We do also promote Sweden in Norway, Finland and Denmark as well.
Tell our readers something about your cultural tourism scene.
Susanne Andersson: Swedish culture and traditions are great attractions in general. Sweden is often referred to as authentic, genuine for real. In Sweden you find 15 world heritages and uncountable cultural sites across the country. The Swedish mindset when it comes to nature, sustainability, efficiency, equality between genders also features that many visitors to Sweden reflect upon when they discover it in the daily life of Swedes they meet.
Which destinations in Sweden do you want to promote for business events and meetings?
Susanne Andersson: Of course this depends on what type of meetings and incentives to be carried out. All our Swedish main cities are accessible by international air carriers. And there are extensive ferry and train traffic to our neighbouring countries.
Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmoe and the regions they are in, holds most of the major meeting facilities. But cities like Södertälje, Östersund, Umeå, Skellefteå, Luleå, Karlstad, Sundsvall Norrköping all keep a very high standard when it comes to meetings and events.
Södertälje is emerging as a promising destination for the meetings as well as hospitality industries. How far do you think it will cater to the needs of the industry players?
Susanne Andersson: Sodertalje already today caters to more than well for several major events, sports- and industrial activities and meetings, as for example Ericsson and Scania are in Sodertalje.
What is your two pence on the concept of ‘climate smart holiday’? How, in your opinion, it may have an impact on sustainability and minimal CO emissions?
Susanne Andersson: Climate smart holiday is about making choices. First of all, plan and be selective in where and how you travel. Travel by flight and car is most common and largest CO2-footprint. Understand if it is possible to replace the transportation mode or the steps possible to reduce the negative impact by using flight or car. Once in the destination make sure you select hotels, restaurants and other services working to reduce climate impact and communicate the results. Continue to ask questions to raise awareness and include both the social and economic dimension of sustainability that connects to the environmental aspect for a more purposeful travel.
In Sweden many suppliers work with sustainability in the three dimensions. Some regions works together to develop a sustainable destination for example: Järvsö, Västerbotten, Göteborg, Djurgården, Skåne, Småland and Gotland.
Where do you want to see Sweden as a destination in the next five years?
Susanne Andersson: Sweden is aiming to become the most sustainable and attractive destination in the world based on innovation and by leading towards purposeful and conscious travel.