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“Shame of flying”: why Swedes are travelling less

Swedes made half a million fewer journeys overseas for leisure purposes in 2018 than the year before, new research shows.

The environment is behind the growing dip in the number of people in Sweden choosing to make overseas trips, The Local reports, but a weak currency and the weather are also factors.

The country was one of the few aviation markets around the world that experienced a reduction in airline passengers in 2018.

Swedes made half a million fewer journeys overseas for leisure purposes than the year before – around 11.2 million, down from 11.7 million in 2017.

That is still more than one for every person, in a country of 10.2 million, but is still a considerable drop, Vagabond magazine’s annual Travel Barometer reveals.

However, the figures do not show daytrips or business trips and refer to adults’ journeys only. Including children, the total number of overseas trips in 2018 was 13.8 million. Including overseas business trips the total rises to 16.6 million.

But 35% of people questioned for the survey say they plan to cut back on overseas travel even more this year.

Climate, currency
As for the reasons, around 35% name concern for the climate.

There is even a new word, flygskam, or “shame of flying”. It is one of 33 words that entered the Swedish language in 2018, as Swedes are discouraged to use planes to travel abroad on holiday.

Swedish teenager and climate activist Greta Thunberg has been an influential leader in these calls to cut back on air travel.

But there are other reasons too – the record heatwave last year persuading many Scandinavians to take a staycation and the fall in the value of the Swedish krona.

Yet of the overseas destinations that were travelled to, Spain was most popular. Nine of the ten most popular countries and 90% of all trips taken were in Europe. The USA was tenth.

Neighbouring Denmark was the second most favoured destination for Swedes in 2018, seeing a 25% rise in popularity compared to 2017 – a country of course that people in Sweden do not have to fly to.

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