India second biggest Asian market for Sweden Massive investment in tourism to boost online outreach

As Sweden embarks on an ambitious undertaking, infusing over 70 million SEK in the tourism sector, aimed at promoting its experiences on offer, we caught up with Lotta Thiringer – Regional Director, Growth & Development, Markets to understand the contours of this mammoth push. High on their agenda is to reach out to new markets and increase outreach through innovative means. An excerpt of the interview follows:

Lotta Thiringer Regional Di rector, Growth & Development, Markets
Lotta Thiringer
Regional Di rector, Growth &
Development, Markets

The government’s investment into tourism, of an extra 70 Million SEK over the next three years, is primarily aimed at promoting Swedish nature experiences in all prioritized markets, along with strengthening tourism from bordering countries, and supporting new digital initiatives, we were told, when asked about the contours of this hefty investment. She said that besides strengthening Sweden’s tourism product, it is also looking into increasing activity in newer markets, such as China and India.

Describing the modus operandi of this outreach, she noted that online media remained a crucial form of communication, and all efforts were being made to increase their online presence, especially in priority markets. “We believe that this is the best way to reach our target audience in a cost-efficient way with a tailored message, a way to build a strong relationship with future visitors.”

Stressing that online media allowed, both, building the brand and reaching out to people who still haven’t decided where to spend their vacation, she stressed that it provided very detailed information for planning purposes. “We run all our bigger campaigns on relevant digital platforms and, of course, social media is core to our digital strategy,” she informed.

Speaking specifically about India, she did concede that it was still a very new tourism market for Sweden. “We are currently doing research and forming ideas on how to best target our audience through online channels.”

Divulging that VisitSweden prioritized 12 foreign markets, we were informed that the markets were Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, UK, USA, France, Spain, Italy and China.

Vasa Museum, Stockholm
Vasa Museum, Stockholm

“The biggest markets today are Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the UK. These countries deliver the largest volumes of visitors, and have a huge potential in the segment of city breaks and active nature vacations,” she said. “For them, Sweden is exotic as well as close,” added Lotta.

Calling India a growing market for Sweden, she told us that Indian travellers have been contributing increasing number of commercial bed nights, since the past few years. In 2014, Sweden had 1,55,203 bed nights spent by Indian travellers, which was an increase of 22% from the preceding year. “For 2015, we were at an accumulated growth of 20% by October, and we have yet to see the result for the whole year, as the yearly statistics come in beginning of 2016. This makes India our second biggest Asian market,” revealed Lotta.

In a bid to attract long-haul markets as the likes of the USA, China and India, Sweden is planning on leveraging the novelty of a Scandinavian platform. The strategy is to work out from a Scandinavian platform, a partnership that brings forward the unique combination of Sweden, Norway and Denmark in one trip, we were told. “As we know that these visitors love to travel around and get more destinations into their vacation,” she explained. Sharing that it had witnessed a steady increase from India, she hoped to maintain this incremental growth over the next few years.

Besides, leveraging the Scandinavian platform – which, indeed, is value for money, and a lure of many experiences in a single jaunt for the discerning traveller – Sweden is also mindful of the need to boost its own image as a destination with varied experiences on offer. “Sweden is blessed with a lot of natural beauty with a long and fascinating coastline, dramatic mountains and romantic rolling landscapes, along with the strikingly beautiful and vibrant capital of Stockholm,” said Lotta. She insisted that it is the combination of authentic nature experiences, world-class progressive cities and a friendly modern sustainable lifestyle that set Sweden aside as a unique destination. “The Swedish cuisine and restaurant scene is another reason to visit that has become increasingly popular, as new Nordic cuisine has gained popularity across the world,” added Lotta.

She further listed unique history combined with a modern sustainable lifestyle, nature attractions; fresh waters, green land and clean air as key reasons for visiting Sweden.

“State-of-the-art design, manifested in arts, furniture, fashion and architecture, coupled with cool cities where modern urban pleasures and nature meet in harmony and new Nordic cuisine at your finger tips are reasons enough to create a pull for tourists,” she noted.

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