Scandinavia Market Profile

The Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark constitute a small but important market for California. With six weeks of paid vacation annually, Scandinavians are heavily incentivized to explore the rest of the world. The proximity to so much of that rest of the world – Europe, Asia and the East Coast – makes California a longer haul. Still, Scandinavians are responsible for approximately half a billion in travel spending dollars annually.


  • The United States is the top long-haul travel destination
  • Scandinavians now spend more than $30 billion a year on travel (approximately $4,800 per household)
  • Fly/drive itineraries are dominant in tour operator offerings, and customized itineraries are very popular
  • The foodie movement has awakened Scandinavians’ interest in culinary travel
  • Active vacations are gaining in popularity: 87 percent of Nordic travelers want to be active in natural surroundings

Travel Profile

In Person Trips, 2016
$565 Million
Visitor Spending, 2016

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

GDP Annual Growth Rate is estimated to grow 1 percent in Denmark and 3.4 percent in Sweden in 2016. The economic model of the Nordic countries has helped the region weather the social consequences that have followed in other EU countries. The unemployment rate has stabilized or decreased in some markets and is one of the lowest in the European Union (average 6.2 percent). Vacation has a very high priority in Scandinavia and traveling has become a basic good rather than a luxury. English is the dominating second language throughout the region and Scandinavians enjoy six weeks of paid vacation annually.

Exchange Rate

The non-affiliation with the Euro reduced the risk of the Euro Zone’s current fate for Denmark, Sweden and especially Norway due to oil reserves and domestic demand. Only Finland has adopted the Euro; the other countries maintain their own local currency, though Denmark follows a fixed exchange rate vis-à-vis the Euro.



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Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • 23 weekly nonstop flights
  • 6,334 weekly nonstop seats


  • Booking time frame for summer vacation (three weeks in June through August): December, February and March
  • Booking time frame for winter vacation (two weeks in December or February): August-September
  • Shorter gateways, often for couples and groups of friends, booked online 1-2 months before departure
  • Scandinavia has 10 traditional tour operators who all sell packages to California

Market Barriers & Risk Factors


  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics 
  • CIC Research, Inc.

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