The year 2022 was exceptional for tourism in the Nordic countries. Denmark, Norway and Iceland broke historical records in registered bed nights as other Nordic countries almost reached the pre-pandemic levels. Domestic tourism seems to be trending in Sweden, Finland and Norway as Denmark and Iceland managed to attract foreign tourists back to the country.
The summer (May-August) of 2022 was busy in all Nordic countries – Denmark, Norway and Iceland had a record-breaking summer in overall bed nights while Sweden and Finland had a record-breaking summer among domestic tourists.
As the year went forward, the growth rate started to slow down a bit, but the numbers were still above the level of 2021.
International tourism increased enormously from previous year, but also domestic tourism kept its state in Sweden, Finland and Norway. Denmark and Iceland had fewer domestic bed nights in 2022 than previous year but the number of foreign bed nights even exceeded the level of 2019 in Denmark and was only four per cent lower in Iceland.
It seems that domestic tourism is a new trend in Sweden, Finland and Norway while tourism in Denmark and Iceland is more dependable on the foreign tourist streams. In Sweden, Finland and Norway the share of domestic tourists is approximately three out of four, while in Denmark the share of domestic tourists is half and in Iceland only one out of five.
In Finland and Norway, domestic tourism volume was higher than ever, and in Sweden only one per cent lower than on the record year of 2019. The sudden change in political and economic situation in the early 2022 did not seem to affect the willingness to travel in Nordic countries. All Nordic countries managed to attract travellers to domestic tourism, even though the world opened up to tourists again. The amount of air passengers going abroad in Finland and Sweden grew enormously from previous year but did not reach the level of 2019. Check out the statistics here (cannot see the statistics? – register as a user)
According to studies (e.g. CARBONTOUR - Strategic Planning Towards Carbon Neutrality in Tourism… 2012), transport produces up to three out of four carbon emissions from tourism. Since domestic tourism produces less carbon emissions from traffic, investing in domestic tourists can be said to be more responsible for the climate than attracting foreign tourists to the region.
Sources: Visitory, Statistics Iceland, DST, CARBONTOUR