Air travel abroad from Swedish airports over the Christmas and New Year holidays have increased by 50 percent over a ten-year period.
Figures from the Swedish Transport Agency show that the number of people flying abroad between December 20 and December 31 has increased from just under 460,000 in 2006 to nearly 690,000 in 2015.
Avoiding holiday pressures
The 50 percent increase is partly explained by rising travel numbers all year round. The opportunity to enjoy a less stressful Christmas holiday away from friends and family could be another explanation, according to customer surveys carried out by the travel agency Ticket.
“The biggest reason is actually Christmas stress, you go away to escape all the stress related to Christmas. It’s also easier to go during Christmas, as it’s easier to get the time off from work or for the children to take time off from school,” Karin Ahlstedt, head of communications at Ticket, told Swedish Radio.
Julia Solli, who chose to spend this Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Thailand with her family, agrees.
“I think it’s so nice, you get away from all the stress, Christmas presents and the greater family. No offence to my family, but it’s nice not having to travel to see them as it’s also expensive to travel within Sweden. So we’re spending our money on a trip to Thailand instead,” she said.
But the increase in flights has consequences for the environment. Since 2014, the climate impact of Swedish air travel has reached the same level as driving, according to a study from scientists at Chalmers University of Technology and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Luxury cruise ship heads to Arctic, but no environmental review, Radio Canada International
Finland: Arctic Finland looks for boost from Chinese tourists, Yle News
Iceland: 10% of Iceland’s workforce employed in tourism, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russian tourism on Svalbard up 500%, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Swedish airport gives travellers climate preview, Radio Sweden
United States: Alaska cultural tourism comes with challenges, Alaska Dispatch News