Tourism is Norrbotten’s new primary industry

Currently one of the world’s fastest growing industries, the tourism sector is expanding rapidly even in Norrbotten. Swedish Lapland Tourism has its sights firmly set on the ambitious objective outlined in the National Strategy for the Tourism Industry: achieving 100% growth in the sector by the year 2020. In order to reach this goal, widespread investment is required in combination with partnerships with trade and industry and public sector actors, supported by injections of venture capital. The main priority is to secure bold, progressive investment towards improving accessibility, developing top class accommodation in close proximity to nature and offering visitors unique experiences renowned worldwide.


Foto: Carl-Johan Utsi

“The latest market reports from VisitSweden underline the potential for attracting more visitors to Swedish Lapland, Sweden’s northernmost tourist destination. At present, we face a greater demand than we are able to accommodate, and although this may sound like a pleasant problem the fact remains that we must act now, both on an industry and regional basis, to ensure we capitalise on this interest and take things to the next level,” explains Annika Fredriksson, CEO at Swedish Lapland Tourism.

Between 2000 and 2010, industry turnover in the region rocketed by 74%, reaching an impressive SEK 4.1 billion, and around 1,300 jobs were created over the same period. This trend has been maintained since – the sector swelled by a massive 12% from 2011 to 2012.

“A key factor in accommodating the increasing demand from international visitors is improving accessibility. This requires long-term investment in infrastructure across the region’s airports, road networks and rail links,” adds Fredriksson.

The growth in international visitors also places higher demands on the region’s accommodation providers. Norbotten already boasts landmark attractions such as the Ice Hotel and Treehotel, but there is still room for more.

“Many of the region’s existing hotels, holiday complexes and campsites are in need of renovation, while we also need to develop more facilities, both large and small, which offer international class accommodation able to meet the demands and expectations of our visitors. There is great demand for top class accommodation in close proximity to nature, creating considerable potential for new enterprises to make successful, long-term investments,” says Fredriksson.

Swedish Lapland is primarily focused on two target groups with considerable purchasing power: The Global Traveller, divided into three segments, and The Global Company. The profiles of these groups dovetail closely with what Swedish Lapland has to offer.

“Swedish Lapland Tourism is a regional collaboration platform tasked with coordinating and supporting the tourism industry’s common marketing and communication initiatives aimed towards the region’s priority target markets. We operate within local, regional, domestic and international partnerships linked to destination development initiatives. Our task is to help pinpoint potential for investment in infrastructure, increased accessibility and financing,” says Fredriksson, concluding, “Today, we are an international destination, with foreign visitors accounting for 35% of our guest nights. By continuing to focus on international target groups we can secure our objective of doubling growth in the sector by the year 2020.”

Tourism industry facts


Tourism is one of the world’s largest industry sectors. Global growth in 2012: +4%, equivalent to € 837 billion. Global growth forecast: +3% a year until 2030. (Source: UNWTO, United Nations World Travel Organisation)


In 2012, the tourism industry accounted for SEK 106 billion of Sweden’s export revenue. This is 85% more than the revenue generated from steel and iron export (SEK 57.1 million).

(Source: Tourism in Sweden, 2012 edition)

Judged on industry turnover, Sweden is the world’s 19th largest tourist nation. The Swedish tourism industry is larger than that in Croatia, South Africa and Mexico, for example. (Source: VisitSweden)


2012: Turnover of SEK 4.6 billion, an increase of 12% year-on-year.

Target for 2020: SEK 8.2 billion. (Source: TEM, Swedish Lapland Tourism)

2,500,000 guest nights in 2012. Foreign visitors accounted for 35% of these. (Source: SCB)

About Swedish Lapland Tourism

Governed by trade and industry, Swedish Lapland Tourism is a collaboration platform representing the interests of the tourism industry in every municipality across Norbotten County, as well as Skellefteå Municipality. Swedish Lapland is used as a place and destination brand for marketing Sweden’s northernmost tourism region, spanning 25% of the nation’s land mass. The area’s unique nature and fascinating local cultures make it a highly popular choice for international visitors – overseas guests account for 35% of Norbotten’s guest nights. The sector grew by 74% between 2000 and 2010, with the number of full time equivalents almost doubling. Moving forward, the industry aims to double its turnover from SEK 4.1 billion in 2010 to 8.2 billion in 2020. Swedish Lapland Tourism is financed by membership fees, EU Structural Funds, every municipality in the region, Norrbotten County Council and Norbotten County Administrative Board.