Scandinavia Expects Growth In Indian Tourist Arrival
Mohit Batra, India Representative, Scandinavian Tourist Board expects to issue over 60,000 visas by the end of the year and the upward trends seem to continue in 2019 too
A total of 30 Scandinavian partners from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were part of the trade show organised by the Scandinavian Tourist Board in Delhi representing destination tourism boards, hotels, ferry companies, and DMCs.
Mohit Batra, India Representative, Scandinavian Tourist Board confirmed that Indian tourist arrival in Scandinavia is expected to reach 5,00,000. “A tremendous growth in the number of Indians travelling to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. We don’t count the room nights in Norway so that’s an estimate but the visa application to the Scandinavian countries is likely to be upward of 60,000 and on an average three room nights spent in Denmark, five in Norway and three-four in Sweden. The best bit is that the travellers can often be issued a visa from other Schengen countries as well and yet travel to Scandinavia. Growth in visa’s issued is the single most important factor indicating higher arrivals from India to Scandinavia. This year we are expected to issue over 60,000 visas by the end of the year and the upward trends seem to continue in 2019.”
The annual three-city roadshow (Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore) with 30 partners from the Scandinavian region had partners from different region including Stavanger for the first time. Hollywood flick ‘Mission Impossible 6’ with Tom Cruise was shot on the Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock).
Speaking about the numbers of innovative campaigns in 2019, Batra spoke about some of the active digital campaigns that will inspire and showcase the region. “We have a social media presence for Norway, Denmark, and Sweden under the Explore Scandinavia and aimed to inspire the travel professionals. Our focus markets are Hyderabad and Kolkata besides Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai,” he said. On an average, most people do 10-night stay to Scandinavia. With both leisure (FIT & groups) and MICE segments in a sustainable manner, the tourist board has seen interest from segments like honeymoon and self-drive tours tailored for romantic getaways in summer and winter.
India is a very important market for Scandinavia with a decade-long presence of the tourist board and Batra feels, “India is soon catching up with arrivals from Japan and Korea both on overnights and spends. India’s outbound growth is projected to cross 40 million by 2020 and approx. 8 million travellers will be heading to Europe. A majority of them have not yet experienced Scandinavia, hence it is an opportunity for us to inspire them to consider exploring this region.”
On the other hand, a specific growth in the numbers of tourists with a 23% increase from India to Sweden is dependent on various factors. Like the recent visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April to Stockholm that had a focus on trade and manufacturing in India, the increase in Indian IT talent being employed in Sweden and increased trade between the two countries have led to a positive impact on tourism for Sweden from India.
According to the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the number of bed nights by Indians in Sweden in 2016 was 175088 nights and in 2017 it went up to 216 058 nights, a 23 % increase from the previous year.
Michael Persson Gripkow, Chief Brand & Communications Officer at Visit Sweden, Sweden’s Official Tourism Board said, “We have noticed the ‘bleisure’ travel trend – a combination of business and leisure travel. In addition, according to Statistics Sweden, there are 17,000 Indian passport holders residing in Sweden today. This along with other factors has led to an increase in tourism from India.”
Today more than 170 Swedish companies are registered in India among the likes of Ericsson, Volvo, H & M, Scania, DeLaval, Tetrapak and the latest entrant being global home furnishings giant IKEA. This growing bridge between India and Sweden has impacted tourism positively.
Ruth Dolla, Project Manager - India, Visit Sweden added, “We look forward to further growth this year and in 2019. We continue to engage the travel trade community as well as the consumer and raise awareness about Sweden as a tourist destination. The direct flight from Delhi to Stockholm with Air India completed one year since its first flight in August 2017 and continues to bring incoming traffic from India to Sweden.”
In addition, more and more airlines are launching new routes to Sweden, Qatar Airways is slated to launch a direct flight in December 2018 from Doha to Sweden’s second largest city – Gothenburg that will provide better connections to passengers from India.