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Scandinavian countries look at direct connections to boost tourism growth

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Scandinavia, comprising of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, recently hosted its ninth sales mission in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. While Air India’s direct flight to Copenhagen and Stockholm are bound to increase tourism inflow to the two cities, the region continues to jointly raise awareness among India’s travel trade industry. Speaking to Express TravelWorld, Mohit Batra, responsible for tourism promotion of Scandinavia in India, stated, “Across the region Indian travellers occupy around 350,000 room nights a year which has seen a 10 per cent year-on-year growth on an average. We are now trying to improve the quality of products as all our partners realise that Indians are willing to consume the best of the product, provided we offer them. There has been an increase in self drive tours and honeymoon destinations which holds scope of massive improvement. We can see that Indians are very fond of shopping and nightlife and continue to spend time in major cities. The direct connections through Air India are likely to improve these numbers.”

Commenting on Sweden’s tourism numbers, Ruth Dolla, project manager, India, Visit Sweden, informed, “Sweden has seen a total of 128 per cent growth from India in the last five years (between 2011 and 2016) and an increase of 18 per cent in tourism this year. We are seeing growing interest among Indian travellers and with Air India’s direct connections, it is bound to increase in coming time. Therefore, Stockholm and Sweden will partner with Air India to increase awareness about the destination and what more to see here.”

However, looking at past years’ arrivals to Copenhagen, Flemming Bruhn, director, Visit Denmark, expressed that there has been significant downfall from the India market. He said, “Yes, there has been a downfall in numbers, but we are hopeful that they will improve post the thrice-weekly connection by Air India. Unfortunately, there are not many roomnights in Copenhagen during peak season since we are majorly sold out. Through this campaign, we want people to explore other areas and see the entire region.”

Per Holte, market director, tourism, Asia and new developing markets; and Kristian B Jorgensen, director, Fjord Norway, jointly shared information on what more Norway has to offer. Holte informed, “We had received 30,000-35,000 Indians this past year and are seeing continuous growth from the market. The latest trend shows that if Indians travel roughly 10 days to the region, half of it is spent in Norway. We have seen a significant rise in self drive tours taken by families who visit the region.”