When visitor figures for 2015 for the southern Swedish city of Malmö were published recently, the result showed that the number of overnight stays increased by 17% compared to 2014. The largest was the percentage increase in visitors from China. Now Visit Sweden’s annual reporting shows that Malmö as destination also has achieved great visibility in Chinese media over the past year, which bodes well for the trend of increasing number of Chinese visitors continues.
Chinese people is not the main group when looking at the statistics on the number of overnight stays made at Malmö hotel. You can still count the number of Chinese visitors in the thousands, not tens of thousands, as in the city’s Danish or German visitors. But the interest from the Chinese market is growing rapidly. From 2014 to 2015, the number of visitors from China increased with 3500 overnight stays which equals 107% growth.
Other parts of Sweden can also note rising numbers of visitors from China and the Swedish Embassy in Beijing has recently announced that they will open 10 new visa offices during the spring to facilitate the application process for the rising tide of Chinese travelers.
The growing interest from China may have several causes. Pia Jönsson Rajgård, CEO of Tourism in Skåne, in a quote to Swedish Television, said that “increased hotel capacity, long-term marketing activities and the currency situation” were the main reasons.
Visit Sweden’s annual reporting on publicity value of the efforts made on Malmö’s priority markets, of which China is one, shows one aspect of these marketing efforts namely visibility in the Chinese press for Malmö as a destination. Malmö Tourism, in cooperation with Visit Sweden and Tourism in Skåne, each year arrange a number of press trips, distribute press releases and conduct other efforts to raise awareness and interest in Malmö and Skåne as destination. In 2014 the total value of the press articles generated by these activities was 7,419,200 SEK and in 2015 this figure had risen to 18,310,100 SEK.
According Yile Gong, PR manager at Visit Sweden China, Chinese journalists view Malmö as green, innovative and cozy. One of the most important articles published in 2015, a five-page travel feature in the weekly magazine Modern Weekly (circulation: 940 000) describes it this way: “When you come to Malmö you discover that the city has much more to offer than what is visible at first sight – in the old city center is a wide range of businesses, from florists and design to the cafes, and everywhere one follows the latest European trends. At the Museum of Modern Art you will find the most exciting avant-garde art one can imagine, and in the Western Harbour visitors get a taste of the future.”
The journalist from Modern Weekly, Zhou Zhou, had joined the press trip to Malmö in May 2015.