It drew heads of state to the heights of northern Europe and political peers from from the world over, but this year’s royal wedding couldn’t fill an average Stockholm hotel with summer tourists.
Pretty much before the nuptials took place, it was heralded as a PR flop and the bunch of brand Sweden’s marketeers had failed in their attempt to make the marriage a magnet for tourists.
Room reservations were typical for a June weekend; locals hoping to cash in their city center apartments were left out of pocket while extra trains especially for wedding commuters to the capital went off the rails.
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce (Svenska Handel) expected local business in the Stockholm region to soar and instead reported disappointing losses in comparison with their projections.
Ahead of the big day, this was the news that was hitting the headlines – making as much noise as what the dress would look like and what ingredients would be topping the cake.
In an attempt for both brand executives and journalists to eat their words, I read an article in quality daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) last week pointing towards a late take-off for wedding tourism.
Hardly quantitative. and purely based on unofficial chats with visitors on the streets, the Stockholm Visitors Board say the wedding is a key reason that sparked interest from this season’s tourists to come to the Swedish capital..
That Stockholm had to wait for the desired effect to materialize was something Thomas Brühl, managing director of Visit Sweden, considers normal.
“We actually never thought that loads of tourists would come to the wedding itself,” he told SvD. “But we hoped it would create some kind of curiosity around Sweden and we’d see the effects later on. This street survey points towards such an effect, even though we don’t exactly know how tourism has been affected by the wedding.”
The after-wedding boom begs the question as to whether Sweden could ever brand itself as a honeymoon destination? After the less than successful wedding coverage – I wonder what the PR people make of that.