Updated on July 19, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Tourism in Sweden has grown over the past 10 years, both for foreign visitors and for Swedes themselves. In this article you will find statistics on various aspects of tourism in Sweden in recent years.

How Many Tourists Visit Sweden Per Year?

Looking at 2019, the number of guest nights increased by 4 percent compared to 2018 – a total of 67.8 million guest nights in total. Most of these guest nights are accounted for by Swedes themselves, just over 50 million.

If you look at statistics from Tillväxtverket you can see that over the last 10 years the number of guest nights has increased by about 3 percent per year looking back to 2019.In 2018 the number of foreign guest nights was 17.3 million, an increase of about 5.3 million foreign guest nights since 2008.

But how many were the individual visitors from abroad?

There are currently no comprehensive figures on this, as the next report on foreign visits will be published sometime in 2021, but if you look at the latest report, which covers the years 2011-2014, it says that 19.9 million people from abroad visited Sweden in 2014.

In 2014, the breakdown of visitors from abroad was as follows :

  1. Norway – 5.5 million visitors
  2. Finland – 4 million visitors
  3. Denmark – 3.6 million visitors
  4. Germany – 1.5 million visitors
  5. United Kingdom – 0.7 million visitors
  6. Russia – 0.5 million visitors
  7. Poland – 0.5 million visitors
  8. Other countries – 3.6 million visitors

According to the data available for 2020, Germans were the most frequent tourists in Sweden with more than 900,000 guest nights, and in that year Denmark came in second place with around 640,000 guest nights.

What Are the Most Popular Tourist Destinations In Sweden?

Tourists prefer to go to the counties where the big cities are located in Sweden. This is how it looked in 2019:

  • Stockholm – 15.2 million guest nights.
  • Västra Götaland County – 10.6 million guest nights.
  • Skåne County – 6.6 million guest nights.

In Gävleborg County, the number of guest nights increased most in 2019 from the previous year. The increase was 12 percent, which was a total of 1.4 million guest nights.

The five most popular cities for Swedes to travel to in 2019, according to a survey conducted by SJ in collaboration with Kantar Sifo:

  1. Visby
  2. Stockholm
  3. Gothenburg
  4. Halmstad
  5. Malmö

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Sweden

Foreign tourists like to shop and visit restaurants, cafés, bars and kiosks when they visit Sweden. Sightseeing and going to museums are also popular. 60% of foreign tourists went shopping when they visited Sweden and 58% of them visited restaurants, bars and cafés.

The most popular tourist attraction in Sweden is Liseberg amusement park (3,100,000 visitors in 2019), followed by Malmö Folkets Park (2,650,000 visitors in 2019) and Stockholm’s Kulturhus (2,323,800 visitors in 2019) in third place.

How Much Money Does Tourism Contribute to The Swedish Economy?

Tourism in Sweden contributed 2.5 per cent of GDP in 2019, or SEK 127 billion. The value of GDP has remained stable at around 2.5 per cent between 2017 and 2019.

The total contribution to GDP from both the travel and tourism sectors in Sweden in 2018 amounted to around SEK 452 billion, and according to forecasts made, this sum is predicted to increase to SEK 603 billion by 2028.

How Much Money Do Tourists Spend in Sweden Per Year?

Tourists shop, stay in hotels and eat in restaurants and of course spend a lot of money when they visit Sweden – but how much? Foreign tourists together with Swedish tourists spent about 306 billion SEK in total in 2019.99.8 billion of this money was spent by the foreign tourists.

In 2018, tourists spent almost SEK 100 billion on shopping and food, accounting for 30% of total tourism consumption that year. 22%, or SEK 75 billion, of consumption was spent on travel and transport such as trains, planes, rental cars, shipping and taxis.

Between 2000 and 2018, the consumption of foreign tourists increased by 255 per cent, or SEK 103 billion. In 2018, foreign tourists accounted for more than 43% of total tourism consumption, whereas in 2000 they accounted for 27%. This is a significant increase, and it is predicted that it will continue to increase after the pandemic.

How Many Jobs Does the Tourism Industry Create in Sweden?

Many people in Sweden work in the tourism sector today, and as more tourists choose to holiday in Sweden, job opportunities are also increasing.

In 2019, an average of 126,000 people were employed by the tourism industry, or in other words 192,000 hours worked.

The number of actual jobs in this sector was 560,000 in 2018, but it is estimated that by 2028 the number of jobs in tourism will increase to around 674,000.

The Impact Of The Pandemic On Tourism In Sweden

Like most countries in the world, Sweden’s tourism has been affected a lot by the pandemic. Travel restrictions in various countries and the high spread of the disease at times have made it more difficult for people to travel and the desire to go on holiday has of course been affected. One thing that has been positively affected by the pandemic is domestic nature tourism. The proportion of Swedes engaging in outdoor recreation has risen sharply, and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there were 300,000 more visitors to Swedish national parks in the pandemic year 2020.

For Sweden, the pandemic meant that tourism consumption fell by 38% in 2020 compared to 2019. For obvious reasons, foreign tourism has been affected the most. Foreign tourism consumption decreased by 52% in 2020 compared to 2019, and the Swedish equivalent decreased by 29% compared to the previous year.

In terms of the impact of tourism on GDP, this figure fell to 1.6% in 2020 from 2.7% in 2019.

As the pandemic subsides, it is predicted that Sweden’s tourism will continue to grow just as it did before the pandemic started.

Summary Of Tourism in Sweden

  • In 2019, the number of guest nights in Sweden increased by 4 per cent compared to 2018, and totalled 67.8 million guest nights.
  • Swedes themselves accounted for most of the guest nights in 2019, just over 50 million.
  • In 2014, 19.9 million foreign tourists visited Sweden.
  • Most tourists visiting Sweden are from other Nordic countries.
  • Tourists prefer to visit the metropolitan areas, and Stockholm is at the top.
  • In 2019, Swedish tourists preferred Visby, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Halmstad and Malmö.
  • Foreign tourists prefer to shop, dine, sightsee and visit museums when they are on holiday in Sweden.
  • The most popular tourist attraction in Sweden is the Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg. It has more than 3 000 000 million visitors a year.
  • Tourism in Sweden contributed 2.5 per cent of GDP in 2019, or SEK 127 billion.
  • The value of GDP has remained stable at around 2.5% between 2017 and 2019.
  • Foreign tourists, together with Swedish tourists, spent a total of around SEK 306 billion in 2019.
  • In 2019, an average of 126,000 people were employed by the tourism industry in Sweden.
  • The number of actual jobs in the tourism sector was 560,000 in 2018.
  • For Sweden, the pandemic meant that tourist consumption fell by 38% in 2020 compared to 2019.
  • In terms of the impact of tourism on GDP, this figure fell to 1.6% in 2020 from 2.7% in 2019.





SJ och Sifo