The Swedish Tourism innovation Center is one of the project partners in the EU Erasmus+ project OUTPACE. The project brings together partners and experts from Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Sweden and Irland

The overall aim of OUTPACE is to produce a rise in the number of tourism businesses which develop innovative products & services based on the opportunities afforded by pop culture tourism, thus generating more market-responsive & dynamic regional tourism economies.

Today, many up-and-coming tourism destinations are experiencing rapid growth directly because of their links to popular culture: television, film and music. OUTPACE will harness the power of film induced tourism and popular culture to develop a new highly innovative pedagogy to support the acquisition of transferable, entrepreneurial and digital skills. It will provide HE educators, tourism development stakeholders and the enterprises they work with the knowledge and skills to capitalize on these contemporary growth trends.

The tourism sector is a vital component of member states’ economies because of its contribution to economic growth and employment, as well as its social, cultural and environmental implications (UNWTO; Eurostat). Today, many up-and-coming tourism destinations are experiencing rapid growth directly because of their links to popular culture: television, film and music etc.. Other parts of Europe are capitalizing significantly on film induced/pop culture tourism. Overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (includes Northern Ireland) grew by 8.8% in 2016, faster than both the world (+3.6%) and Europe (+1.6%) (TourismIreland), while in Iceland the number of foreign visitors has nearly quadrupled since 2010 (Icelandic Tourist Board).

However, there is a risk that the economic boost from pop culture may prove short lived. While a number of ‘first-mover’ local businesses have capitalized on trends, the tourism sector’s response to the opportunities has been fragmented. Evidence suggests that companies perform well on providing traditional services but are less able to respond to the more complex motives of pop culture tourists which rely on the mythology and perception of a destination rather than the real place (MacCannell, 1999; Selwyn, 1996 in Lexhagan et al.) and are ill equipped to offer the immersive, aspirational and emotional-based experiences that new generations of tourists come to expect (VisitBritain, 2016).

To remedy this OUTPACE will produce a rise in the number of tourism businesses which develop innovative products & services based on the opportunities afforded by pop culture tourism, thus generating more market-responsive & dynamic regional tourism economies.

For more information https://www.popculturetourism.eu.

Down to Earth for Tourism: UNWTO

Down to Earth for Tourism was launched at the Rio +20 United Nation conference on sustainable development. The project is a Swedish initiative being developed together with UNWTO and recognized internationally as a high-profile project with space as a catalyst for innovative solutions for sustainable tourism development.

Down to Earth for Tourism aims to develop tools and models for innovative solutions that can be used globally and help countries, regions and future tourist destinations, accommodation and tourist attractions towards sustainable development. Pilot projects have already been carried out in China and Scandinavia and are now taken another step towards new pilot project around the world.

Down to Earth for Tourism is an interdisciplinary program that involves different disciplines as tourism, space sector, industry and universities / academy across borders in innovation processes to identify sustainable solutions to future challenges for sustainable tourism development. The project is based on a methodology developed by the Swedish aerospace design company Umbilical Design, where technology and knowledge transfer from space to create new innovations and products.

Project Down to Earth for Tourism deleted from “The astronauts lifestyle”, that is, astronauts living conditions in space. By seeing how recycling thinking applied in space around the material, technology and limited resources such as water, this approach embraced sustainable tourism development. The methodology of the project, Down to Earth for Tourism is based on a creative innovation process where different disciplines meet and interact to produce new innovations and ideas with a focus on sustainability. Working in a collaborative process creates opportunities to address future challenges on climate change, population growth and environmental impact.

With space as a catalyst for innovation, the aim is for “Down to Earth for Tourism” to help achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets.

Link to project page: www.unwto.org

Tourism and Peace

The project Tourism and Peace is an initiative by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the University Klagenfurt, Austria.

The objective of this project is to help the global tourism industry in better understanding its operating context in conflict-affected countries. Thus, the overall aim is to assist the tourism private and public sector in better understanding their option in conflict and post- conflict settings and hence reduce costs and risks, meanwhile supporting peace processes.

The goal of the project is to generate practical guidelines for the tourism private sector in source markets and destinations, in how to operate business in conflict settings while advancing peace and development. A second output is to generate research recommendations for the public sector on how to support the work of the tourism private sector in order to harness the positive contributions of business towards peace building. The projects final goal is to create an online community `Tourism, Conflict and Peace´, which can provide a platform for exchanging views on the applicability of the research results.

As part of the project, an international handbook on Tourism and Peace was launched in January 2014 by UNWTO and the Austrian Peace Center. The Handbook offers a comprehensive collection of perspectives on tourism and peace from leading international specialist with topics ranging from sustainable development and conflict resolution to eco-tourism and heritage preservation and includes several case studies. The editors of the book, Cordula Wohlmuther and Werner Wintersteiner argue that there are different approaches to the complex topic of “tourism and peace” and that the handbook provides a good overview on this.

As a partner in the project, the Swedish Tourism Innovation Center’s main contribution is in the area of operational strategic communication, organizing summits, meetings, seminars and developing communication tools and training concepts for the private sector and policy makers. The Swedish Tourism Innovation Center also accounts for development of future partnership models and fundraising activities.

Business Generating System: Svenska Institutet

The program “Business Generating System” aims to contribute to tourism development in the Baltic Sea region. The program has received support from the Swedish Institute in an initialization phase and is based on establishing cooperation between organizations in the Baltic Sea region. The aim is increased cooperation and exchange of knowledge about tourism opportunities and challenges in the region. The long term goal is to create a common market and develop the entire Baltic Sea region into an attractive tourist destination.

The majority of all tourism related activities in the Baltic Sea region are small companies that need specific tools to further develop their businesses. The project “Business Generating System” is to bring together various stakeholders from different disciplines and countries to develop standardized tools, methods and models for tourism development in the region. Something that can create a more competitive market, attract investment and stimulate growth for the entire Baltic Sea region.

Nordic Tourism Investment Forum: De nordiska länderna

Nordic Tourism Investment Forum is part of an enhanced Nordic cooperation on investment issues, initiated by the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation. Taking a Nordic approach, together with other countries in a common effort to attract investment to the tourism industry, is a milestone for tourism development. The Nordic region is our common market for international tourism companies and investors operating across national borders. Via a joint approach, we can help entrepreneurs to compete internationally and to position the Nordics on the global market.

The Nordic countries are cooperating on investor database, index investing and market analyzes and conducts joint process to find and develop investment projects in tourism to boost investment in the sector. Nordic Tourism Investment Forum has become the common meeting place where tourism entrepreneurs and investors meet, network and do business.


TRIP.se is Sweden’s largest community for tourism entrepreneurs and provides an interactive meeting and information point for people working in, or looking to create a dialogue with stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry. Here you can discuss issues, receive news and publish your own presentations, reports, news and develop your business network. Initiator to trip.se is the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS) and is since 2013 operated and developed by the Swedish Tourism Innovation Center.

The Ultimate Experience: VINNOVA

The Innovation Agency Vinnova has under the announcement Challenge Driven Innovation granted the Swedish Tourism Innovation Center, an initialization program that aims to develop digital services to make available a total experience of nature and culture in Sweden. The project title is The Ultimate Experience – enabling accessibility to nature and culture in Sweden.

Vinnova’s citation reads:

The availability of sustainable, competitive total experience of nature and culture in Sweden is a challenge and a goal for the whole of Sweden, and one untapped large potential growth engine. This powerful constellation as a concrete working out practical solutions, services and offerings, we expect will to have great potential to achieve collaborative program in challenge-driven innovation spirit.

KURBITS business development program

Kurbits business development program, designed especially for small businesses in the tourism industry, is nominated by the European Commission as a best practice in the framework of the EU strategy “Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination.”

Kurbits is the first national business development program that caters specifically to small-scale tourism enterprises with industry-specific methodology, content and tools. Over 400 entrepreneurs have completed the program across the country (Sweden) with a result of developing their business and increasing their profitability.

Kurbits has been nominated as a pioneering example in the EU for cross-sector initiative and innovation in the field of tourism as a means to boost competitiveness in the sector with the involvement of small and medium enterprises. The award is announced at the beginning of autumn 2013, when the European Commission aims to establish recommendations for the use of common models and transferring best practices within the tourism sector at European level.

Kurbits started as a pilot project in Dalarna, Sweden, and has now evolved into a national innovation system identified in Europe. Now, Kurbits can be an innovation system to increase development within the tourism industry even outside the country.

Link to project page: www.kurbits.org