The number of tourists is down in Sweden this summer. The government intervenes with financial support … [+] for industry. Getty Sweden is the only one in Europe with its light-hearted approach to tackling the coronavirus crisis. After receiving harsh criticism and admitting errors, Swedish leaders and health officials are finally breathing a sigh of relief as the number of deaths, intensive care admissions and severe coronavirus crises has been steadily declining for several weeks. Virtually all businesses involved in travel and hospitality have suffered due to the drop in demand associated with the coronavirus. Although not subject to strict regulations, Swedes were still encouraged not to travel except when absolutely necessary. Ticket sales at national rail operator SJ fell 77% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. The company recorded a loss of 656 million Swedish kronor ($ 73.7 million) for the period. Many hotels and tour operators have experienced similar difficulties. Travel Slowly After a Historic Slump As the summer weather sets in, many Swedes are choosing a “destination” and international tourism is slowly returning. But with a tarnished reputation and the fact that most non-EU / EEA citizens remain barred from entering the country until August 31 at the earliest, the Swedish travel industry will not benefit from a was exceptional. This follows a historic low in the tourism industry, illustrated by statistics from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. At the height of the crisis in April, the total number of tourist overnight stays fell by 69% compared to the previous year. The drop in May was 57%, while overnight stays by visitors to US citizens – Sweden’s largest non-EU / EEA market – were down 88%. Mobile data released by Telia shows that in the last week of June, domestic travel reached the same level as before the crisis erupted, although still down compared to the same period of the last year. The mobile phone network provider shared anonymized data with the Swedish Public Health Agency to help assess compliance with travel guidelines. Norway taking a hit One issue that still hits Sweden hard is the ongoing travel restrictions from Norway. Despite the lifting of restrictions for much of Europe, the Norwegian government has maintained a mandatory 10-day home quarantine for anyone entering the country from most of Sweden. This in fact excluded most of the tourism from Sweden’s biggest foreign market for more than four months. Border towns such as Strömstad, whose economy relies heavily on Norwegian visitors, have been hit the hardest. The city’s mayor told Reuters that when Norway closed its border, Strömstad “went overnight from complete activity to total immobility.” An island is booming However, not all parts of Sweden are in trouble. The beaches on the popular island of Öland in Kalmar County are teeming with people, but not everyone is satisfied. Öland has just over 26,000 people as permanent residents. The population is also the oldest in Sweden. Many residents now fear the virus will return and put the island’s elderly population at serious risk. According to Kvällsposten, all but one of Kalmar County’s municipalities have reported congestion problems, both on roads and in stores, where empty shelves are common. Government funding – but is it enough? Last week, the Swedish government announced a 70 million crown ($ 7.9 million) bailout package for small and medium-sized tourism-related businesses in rural areas. When asked if the amount was sufficient, Ibrahim Baylan, Swedish Minister for Industry, Business and Innovation, told Sveriges Radio that the money was in addition to several other programs supporting the Swedish industry during the pandemic. Baylan said the government provided 270 billion crowns ($ 30.5 billion) in direct support and 600 billion crowns ($ 67.7 billion) indirectly in the form of guarantees and other initiatives. However, adoption of some of the previous programs has been slow, with industry organizations saying the support was too risky and only delayed problems. .