By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai:(IANS) Hoping to grow the number of Indian tourists by 15 percent this year Sweden is planning promotional activities in India with a sizeable budget, said a senior official.
“Our main goal for 2015 is to learn about and assess the potential of the Indian market which is growing rapidly to set a relevant strategy for upcoming marketing efforts. Our goal is to see an increase of 15 percent in Indian bednights in 2015,” Lotta Thiringer, regional director-growth and development, VisitSweden told IANS in an email interview.
“Till the month of April 2015 we have got 10,274 bednights spent by Indian travellers. In the fall we will have the number for the popular summer season,” she added.
According to Thiringer, there has been a steady growth of Indian travellers to Sweden during the past few years.
“This has been a combination of business and leisure travel. While Indians contributed to 126,840 bednights in the year 2013, it grew to 155,203 bednights in the year 2014, an increase of 22 percent,” Thiringer said.
Visit Sweden has allocated Swedish krona (SEK) 70 million over three years to implement a number of initiatives that will strengthen Sweden’s image abroad.
“The exact budget allocated for activities in India will be determined in the fall, when we have the full market analysis and also taking in the potential of the market in relation to other prioritized markets,” she said.
The plan is to undertake major investments in growing markets and attract tourists from countries like India and China.
According to VisitSweden, the plans include promoting sustainable, natural and eco-tourism in Sweden’s countryside and increase the number of nights spent in the country.
“Looking at the packages to Sweden and Scandinavia sold by Indian tour operators, we can conclude that most trips last 10-15 days though. This is similar to other European destinations,” she said.
In order to increase the number of Indian tourists, VisitSweden will roll out a strategy combining social media, public relations and online marketing with relations with the travel trade. The first goal is to increase awareness of Sweden as a tourist destination for Indian travellers.
Queried about the biggest tourist market for Sweden Thiringer said: “In 2014, Sweden had 1,37,47,590 foreign bednights, which is the highest number to date. The biggest markets today are Norway with 32,64,191 bednights, Germany with 27,83,438 bednights and Denmark with 10,91,142 bednights. Apart from these three feeder markets, VisitSweden promotes Sweden as a tourist destination in Finland, Russia, Netherlands, UK, USA, France, Spain, Italy and China.”
She said Sweden has a lot to offer to the Indian traveller like the modern vibrant capital Stockholm to the winter wonderland of Swedish Lapland and pristine coastal landscape of West Sweden. Add to that the rich farmlands of Southern Sweden, Skane, which is being discovered by the Indian film industry already, Thringer said.
“Today, most tourism from India is concentrated to Stockholm, but we see an increase of travellers venturing outside of the capital,” she said.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)