Swedish Tourism On The Up

International tourism to Sweden has grown steadily over the past few years and the tourism industry now contributes more to the economy than steel, iron and car exports put together. Since 2000 the industry has also created more than 36,000 new full time jobs according to figures from the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.

For a country like Sweden that is heavily dependant on foreign exports the increase in tourism is a welcome and well-needed boost in revenue. In 2009 the industry was estimated at a value of 12 billion dollars and with many places so far largely unexplored by foreign visitors there is a lot more that can be done to market the country, according to experts.

The large increase is mainly attributed to the weak Crown and successful marketing and PR. But it also seems Swedes travelling abroad is a good and very cheap way to market the country. Many of the tourists walking around in Stockholm last week told Radio Sweden that they have been recommended to come here by friends and family, or by travelling Swedes.

And while Stockholm fills with foreign tourists, the Swedes themselves are leaving the country more than ever at least for part of their vacation. Travel companies such as Ving and Fritidsresor, who had a small drop in bookings last year, now say they are back to pre-financial crisis numbers.