Visby, the main town, is well known for its medieval setting, the 3.4 km wall surrounding the town, its narrow alleys and numerous medieval churches. In 1995 Visby was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. As a result of this and because Gotland is the sunniest region in Sweden, the island has become a popular tourist destination.
As a rather small island located about 45 minutes by air from the Swedish mainland, Gotland is not an ideal place for larger industries. However, the people living here are very business-minded. On average, one out of eight people is a business owner, most often in tourism or agriculture. The focus of business here, apart from tourism and agricultural industries, is rock and cement, with limestone playing a key role.
Visby has a large number of restaurants and bars open year-round relative to the number of inhabitants. In addition, the number of restaurants and bars more than doubles in the summer, the main season for tourism.
Gotland has become a popular location for events, conferences and congresses. In the heart of Visby is Wisby Strand, nominated as the number one conference centre in Sweden for offering an “inspiring meeting environment”.
Tourism is a very important industry for Gotland and Visby, and it has grown continuously over the past few centuries. The number of guest-nights spent on the island of Gotland is almost ten times greater than the number of residents – 800,000 in 2013.
Visitors are fairly evenly divided between business and leisure travellers, and the tourism industry is growing by 40,000 visitors a year.
Nature, water and sunshine are the main reasons for leisure tourism in Gotland, along with the cultural attractions of medieval Visby.
Visby Airport 2015
- Gotland’s airport and the fastest way to get to and from the island
- 431,000 passengers (16,000 of which were international)
- 5 international destinations
- Just over 50 employees in some 15 companies