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Holiday abroad increasingly important to Swedes

2013-12-23, kl. 09:14

We Swedes make decisions about our travels several months before we head off on a trip. At the same time, a holiday abroad is the priority of many Swedes to a greater extent today than 5-10 years ago, and their experience at the airport is a very important part of their travel experience. In the future, we want food from across the globe, the option of resting undisturbed in a “sleep pod”, whisky tastings and more activities for children at the airport. These are the findings of a new Traveller survey that Swedavia carried out together with TNS Sifo, which included 2,000 people who have flown on holiday over the past year, in order to map the views of Swedes regarding travel, holidaymaking and airports around the world.

The Traveller survey, carried out for the second year, reveals what choices Swedes make in conjunction with their holidays and how they behave prior to a trip. The 2013 report shows that more than a third, 41 per cent, of respondents feel they give higher priority today to a holiday abroad than they did 5-10 years ago. 

“The experience and anticipation of something special on holiday lead many Swedes to put a greater value on a holiday abroad than they did a few years ago and give it higher priority. Many also think that it has become easier to travel. Almost a third say they believe their holiday is more important now, so that they can really relax, since they feel there are greater demands to always be available in their everyday life,” says Michael Persson Gripkow, chief commercial and marketing officer at Swedavia.
At the airport, passengers are happy and full of anticipation – more than seven out of ten respondents think the atmosphere is important to their travel experience. And what they really want to do at the airport is to truly socialise and chat with their travel companions, far removed from the need to constantly be connected. A large majority also choose not to update their Facebook status or post something on Instagram when they are at airports.

The majority of those asked (55%) prefer to be at the airport at least an hour before their departure and almost four out of ten want to be there more than two hours in advance in order to have time to shop and visit cafés, restaurants and bars.

“We see how their visit to airports entails happiness and anticipation and that these feelings play an important role for passengers – the atmosphere, interior decor and range of retail and other services available are an important part of the travel experience. The airports of tomorrow should offer shopping at good prices, food from all the corners of the world and Swedish brands and design – but also more activities for families with small children, the possibility of sleeping undisturbed for a while in some type of private ‘sleep pod’, and cultural experiences such as art exhibits,” says Mr Persson Gripkow.
Along with shopping and good food, Swedes think a good airport atmosphere is characterised by clean, nice-looking premises, low sound levels, good information and ample seating.
Download the full Traveller report here: www.swedavia.se/resenaren (in Swedish).

Results from the Traveller survey


  • The most common reason why people give priority to a holiday abroad today is that they want to experience something special (47%). This is true especially of those aged 18–29 (60%) and of people living in the Stockholm (58%) and Jönköping region (56%).
  • Older passengers (aged 50-64 and 65-79) are inspired in their choice of destination by their past travels.
  • In the counties of Kalmar (39%), Halland (47%) and Norrbotten (37%), a larger share of people plan their trip at least six months before their departure, compared to 30 per cent in the rest of Sweden.
  • 36 per cent want to be at the airport more than two hours before their flight in order to shop, eat and soak in the atmosphere. Travellers from Gävleborg, Halland, Örebro, Dalarna and Södermanland spend the most time at the airport before their departure.
  • The predominant feeling for passengers when they arrive at the airport is anticipation, and that is the strongest feeling among people living in Värmland (81%) and Dalarna (also 81%).
  • Women pack a pen, medicine, chewing gum and make-up in their carry-on baggage to a far greater extent than men do. Men instead take their computer/iPad and condoms.
  • Women prefer to buy something to read (32%) and exclusive perfumes (28%) at the airport. Men shop for alcohol, preferably higher quality (40%).
  • More than one out of six men prefer to spend the time before their flight in the bar, with this being the case especially among men aged 30-49 (22%).
  • Older men between 65 and 79 prefer a cup of coffee and something sweet (26%).
  • Women spend the most time at the airport socialising and chatting with their travel companions (23%).
  • Women also believe it is important that airports work hard to be as environmentally-friendly as possible (86%).
  • More attractive prices for shopping and food from around the world are what travellers want most at airports. 23 per cent of those asked update their Facebook status or post something on Instagram at the airport before their departure.
  • Paperback books are the most popular form of reading on a trip (54%), followed by newspapers/magazines (20%). Swedes prefer to read a comic novel like En man som heter Ove by Fredrik Backman or a thriller like Inferno by Dan Brown.

About the survey

The Traveller survey of Swedes’ views of travel, holidaymaking and airports around the world was conducted by TNS Sifo at the request of Swedavia. It was carried out online September 30–October 9, 2013. Respondents between the ages of 18 and 79 were randomly selected. A total of 9,067 interviews were conducted, with the 4,594 respondents who answered yes to the question whether they had flown on holiday over the past year constituting the basis of the survey results. For national results, 2,000 people were used as the basis.