Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 297

297 Arctic Yearbook 2014 Sweden In Sweden the two most northern counties of Norrbotten (“Swedish Lapland”) and Västerbotten together constitute 34% of the area of Sweden, with a population of only 5.5% of the Swedish population of 9.6 million. The region is characterized by a decreasing and ageing population and an economy mainly based on forest production, mining and hydroelectric power production, but it has also developed into an important tourist destination as of late (Müller 2011). The main attractions in the mountainous area are ski-resorts, large national parks such as Laponia, and the authentic Sámi culture with reindeer herding. Attractions in the boreal forest are fewer, but include the Ice hotel, Tree Hotel, and fishing and rafting in the rivers. The coastal areas attract mainly camping tourists from Norway to the “Riviera of the North”, and more traditional rural and cultural tourism in the coastal cities. Thus, nature-based tourism is the main attraction in Northern Sweden, having the highest concentration of ecotourism companies licensed according to the Nature’s Best certification (Müller 2011). Accessibility is, compared to other Arctic areas, very good with a well-developed road network and daily flight connection from Stockholm to nine airports, as well as a railway along the coast to the mountains (Müller 2011, Swedish Lapland Tourism 2014). The destination of Swedish Lapland is one of Sweden’s top developing destinations, with a 12% increase in tourism turnover in 2012, compared with 4.8% overall in Sweden. The total turnover value was 4.5 billion SEK for Swedish Lapland (275.5 billion SEK total in Sweden). Overall, international arrivals in Sweden have between 2000-2012 increased with 115% (85% Europe and 110% Globally (Tillväxtverket 2013). In Swedish Lapland 23% of guest nights were international with the largest international markets being Norway followed by Germany, Denmark, UK, the Netherlands, Finland and USA (Tillväxtverket 2013). Despite the increased revenue from tourism, Sweden has from 2009-2011 lost market shares to neighboring Scandinavian countries and the rest of Europe. The major challenge for Swedish tourism is to increase its international competitive share, and get more local destinations on the international market (Tillväxtverket 2013). Other challenges are national legislation and regulations, such as restricted commercial tourism assess to national parks, and the clash of interests concerning property rights, tourism and the right public access to nature in Sweden (Sandel & Fredman 2010, Sténs & Sandström 2013), as well as conflicts between tourism development and forestry, mining and reindeer herding, as well as accessibility such as direct incoming international flights (Müller 2011). Lately climate change has become a challenge for ski resorts and other winter oriented tourism activities (Brouder & Lundmark 2011). Besides the natural and cultural tourism resources, Sweden’s natural hospitality and service quality, general high education level and innovation capacity, as well as a well-developed infrastructure and social services in the subarctic environment give good potential for tourism. The recent governmental strategy to double tourism revenue by 2020 has initiated several promising tourism development initiatives (Svensk Turism 2011). These include professional international market Maher, Gelter, Hillmer-Pegram, Hovgaard, Hull, Jóhannesson, Karlsdóttir, Rantala, & Pashkevich