Tourism is a growing area of business in Sweden, and has received only limited political attention at the national level. In 2019, around 126 000 persons were employed in tourism related work, and tourism produced around 2.5 percent of GDP. Tourism consumption was SEK 306 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent compared with the previous year. Swedish internal tourism made up SEK 206 billion (an increase of 2.3 %), compared to SEK 100 billion spent by foreign tourists (a decrease of 2.5 %).Since then, tourism business has been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2017, a government commission of inquiry submitted a report proposing a coordination of national tourism policy under the overall objective “to enhance the tourism and hospitality industry’s contribution to economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development throughout the country” (SOU 2017:95, p. 23). Since then, a coordinating group has been created with representatives of relevant government agencies, with the National Heritage Board representing the culture sector.
In a report published by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) in cooperation with the Swedish Agency for Cultural Analysis, the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Evaluations and Analyzes (Tillväxtanalys), and Statistics Sweden (Statistiska Centralbyrån) in 2018, it was concluded that increased efforts ought to be made not only to support, but also to measure, the contribution of cultural and creative industries to tourism, e.g.“cultural values, social values and increased attractiveness of places associated with a production involving a significant element of creative processes, specialised manual processes and artistic presentations” (Tillväxtverket 2018).