Sweden - Tourism, travel, and recreation

Tourism is a major industry in Sweden, although it has been stagnant since 1990 due to a value-added tax on hotels, restaurants and travel services.

Principal tourist sites include the Royal Palace in Stockholm, the "garden city" of Göteborg, the resort island of Öland off the Baltic coast, and the lake and mountain country in the north. Cultural centers in Stockholm are the Royal Opera, Royal Dramatic Theater, and Berwald Concert Hall. Popular recreational activities include soccer, skiing, ice skating, swimming, mountain climbing, and gymnastics.

The number of foreign tourists to Sweden cannot be reliably ascertained because of uncontrolled tourist movements across borders within Scandinavia; statistics of Scandinavian visitors to Sweden have not been kept since 1951. However, tourist arrivals totaled 2,746,000 in 2000, when tourism receipts reached $4 billion. That year Sweden had 96,109 hotel rooms and 188,319 beds with a 35% occupancy rate. No passport is required for Scandinavian nationals. Citizens of Canada, the US, West European countries, and certain other nations may enter Sweden with a valid passport and do not require a visa.

In 2003 the US government estimated the cost of staying in Stockholm at $263 per day.

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