Visitors from US, China and India rescue Swedish tourism
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Tourists from the US, China and India helped Swedish tourism grow incrementally despite a slump in visits from crisis-tainted European countries.
"The unease in Europe contributed to visitor numbers from western and southern Europe decreasing during 2012," the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) said in a statement.
The only European countries whose visitors to Sweden did not drop off were Switzerland and Ireland.
Meanwhile, non-European visitors became all the more frequent. The group saw a 5.8-percent increase last year compared to 2011.
The far-flung travellers made up for the slump in European visits, allowing the Swedish tourism sector to welcome 0.4 percent more visitors overall compared to the year prior.
Measured in the number of overnight stays in Sweden, Chinese tourist numbers went up by 11.2 percent. American visits increased by 6.6 percent.
Visitors from Japan also increased in numbers, but Indians crept past them in the tourist-league table.
Indian tourists thus became the third largest non-European visitor group to Sweden in 2012.
Revenue at hotels, hostels and holiday cottages increased to 19.4 billion kronor ($3 billion), an upswing of 0.8 percent since 2011.
"Tourism creates 160,000 jobs and is important to the Swedish economy,” the agency director-general Birgitta Böhlin said in a statement.