Denmark, Sweden and Norway are expecting Indian tourists to consume more than 3.5 lakh hotel room nights in a year as the three Scandinavian nations are going all out to attract travellers from the country by promoting their tourism destinations.
The Scandinavian Tourist Board (STB) has been actively holding promotional events in India in its bid to reach out to Indian travellers so that they visit Denmark, Sweden and Norway the three northern European countries that were largely unexplored by Indian tourists in the past.
Following the recent increase in the number of Indians visiting Scandinavia, Air India in August this year launched direct flights from India to Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Earlier, these destinations, along with Oslo, were connected via Dubai.
Mohit Batra from the STB said India is one of the most important regions in the world and that is why the three Scandinavian countries are going all the way to woo Indian tourists.
“Indians are more loved and welcomed by the European countries and people are looking forward to cultural exchanges from both sides,” Batra said while elaborating some of the reasons behind the recent surge in the number of Indian tourists to Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
“We are looking at Indians consuming 3,50,000 hotel room nights in Scandinavia in a year,” he said, adding that on an average, these numbers are expected to grow at 10 per cent.
In Asia, India is ranked as Sweden’s second source market after China.
Ruth Dolla, Project Manager India of Visit Sweden, said India has emerged as the world’s fastest-growing outbound market and it is second only to China.
“The number of Indians travelling overseas is set to rise from around 15 million now to 50 million by 2050. That 50 million is a huge number. This will mean a big growth in spending overseas,” she said.
Dolla said introduction of direct flights from India to Sweden and Denmark will definitely lead to a sharp rise in the numbers of Indian tourists visiting the three Scandinavian nations.
“We see India as a huge market for tourism source to Sweden. We have been working in the Indian market since 2015.
We have seen a very good increase in the number of tourists coming to Sweden. There are 150 Swedish companies operating in India.
“We have received an 18 per cent increase in the number of Indian tourists this year. We have got 1,76,000 visitors from India last year. It is increasing every year and month.
We have registered a 35 per cent increase in tourism in August this year compared to the corresponding month last year,” she said.
A perfect combination of authentic nature experiences, world-class and modern progressive cities and a friendly, modern, sustainable lifestyle sets Sweden aside as a unique destination for travellers, she said.
Flemming Bruhn, Director of Visit Denmark said India is a very exciting and developing market for Scandinavia.
“We have seen a double-digit growth in the number of Indian tourists visiting Denmark. This year, unfortunately, Copenhagen has been fully booked by travellers and it has been very difficult for Indian travellers to find (hotel) rooms.
“We will increase hotel capacity by 20 per cent in the next two years to accommodate the rising number of travellers,” he said.
Norway has witnessed a 16 per cent increase in the number of Indians visiting the country since 2016.
In the first half of this year, more than 11,000 visas were issued to Indians by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. In 2007, only 3,500 visas were issued to Indians. The number grew to roughly 4,000 by 2010 and 6,000 by 2014.
Denmark, Sweden and Norway are part of the Schengen visa system.
Bengt Hammer, Sales and Key Account Manager Asia and Oceania at Visit Flam, Norway said India is a big promising market.
“India’s economy is growing fast. Indians are visiting Norway in a large number. They love the destinations there.
Last year, we experienced a 10 per cent increase in Indian tourist arrival. Around 15,000 Indians are in Flam city.
“We also see a role of Bollywood in promoting tourism in Norway. Some Indian films have been shot in the country,” Hammer said.
Norway, well known for its natural, untouched beauty and some of the best architectural attractions in the world, has eight attractions listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.