Press Release

Swedish Tourism Innovation Center new partner in UN project on tourism and peace

February 19, 2014

Swedish Tourism Innovation Center is a new partner in a programme on ”Tourism and Peace”, an initiative by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Klagenfurt University, Austria. Within the programme Tourism and Peace, a project on the elaboration of guidelines for conflict-sensitive business practices will be carried out. The role of the center will be to communicate and disseminate information on how tourism can become a peace-building force in conflict areas around the world.

-It is an honor to be appointed partner in an international project promoting tourism while aiming at creating a better world. Tourism and Peace complies well with our ambition to position Sweden and our activities in the international arena, says Jan Lundin, CEO at the Swedish Tourism Innovation Center.

Tourism often operates in conflict-affected environments although tourism operators often lack the understanding and capacity of how to reduce the risk of conflict, let alone how to avoid a negative impact on the conflict. It is this lack of understanding and capacity that the project wishes to address based on the assumption that tourism can play an enhanced positive role in peace-building. The project provides practical guidelines on how tourism can do business while contributing to peace in conflict areas.

The Center for Peace Research and Peace Education at the University Klagenfurt in Austria operates the project together with Compass GmbH, International Alert, Swisspeace, och now also with the Swedish Tourism Innovation Center.

-Sweden has a good reputation in tourism linked to sustainability and innovation and is a credible actor in questions regarding international peace and security. We are therefore very happy that the Swedish Tourism Innovation Center has become our partner in the project, says Cordula Wohlmuther, Project Leader at the Center for Peace Research and Peace Education i Österrike.

Swedish Tourism Innovation Center appointed as agent for the “Erasmus program for tourism businesses”

January 24, 2014

Swedish Tourism Innovation Center appointed as focal point for European exchange program for entrepreneurs.

The European Commission has selected Swedish Tourism Innovation Center (svb) as local contact for the ” Erasmus for young entrepreneurs in the tourism industry” – a cross-border exchange program that gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from entrepreneurs in other countries.

– Being a local contact for this EU program is recognition of our business and is in line with our efforts to develop tourism in Sweden. This means that you as a business in the hospitality industry may be staying with an experienced entrepreneur in another EU country, or receive an EU-employed in your own business. Through our business development program Kurbits, we have direct access to around 450 entrepreneurs with ambitions to grow and create international networks. We see a great opportunity for the right Kurbits companies to participate, says Jan Lundin, CEO of Swedish Tourism Innovation Center (svb) .

New entrepreneurs may visit experienced entrepreneurs in other countries and thus gain practical knowledge of what it takes to run a business. Experienced Swedish companies are also able to host businesses.As host entrepreneur, you can through the program get new networks and new perspective on your business, the opportunity to learn about other markets and cooperate with foreign partners. The program can add value to both new entrepreneurs and host companies. Benefits of participation may be exchange of knowledge and experiences, networking opportunities across Europe, new business opportunities and better knowledge of foreign markets

To participate in the program requires that the prospective entrepreneur has either come far in planning to start their own business or that the company has been around for more than three years. The initiative is also aimed at experienced entrepreneurs who own or operate a business.

The stay is partly funded by the European Union.

The Swedish Tourism Gala and the Global Tourism Innovation Summit highlighted in China

December 20, 2013

The Swedish Tourism Gala and the Global Tourism Innovation Summit has been highlighted in several Chinese newspapers, for example China Culture which is the 3rd largest newspaper with the headline: “Sweden hosted the first World Innovation Summit for Tourism” and quotes from the article: “Today is a very important day, experts all over the world come together for the benefit of the world to Contribute to our development, the world stay connected innovation ‘


Innovation projects gather under new umbrella

December 17, 2013

Innovation projects gather under new umbrella

From 2014, the innovation-oriented activities in the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation will continue in Swedish Tourism Innovation Center AB (svb). The company is the association’s service company that has been renamed and transformed into a non-profit organization with restricted profit distribution (svb*).

The Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS), has during the latest year further developed the business into new innovation-oriented projects. RTS has signed an agreement with UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) on the tourism innovation project “Down to Earth for Tourism “, has been recognized as good practice in the EU with Kurbits business development program, and runs programs through Vinnova.

– It’s incredibly exciting that the business has taken a step into the international market. Exporting knowledge and services to other markets gives us new opportunities to raise industry issues in a larger context. At the same time, we must pursue new forms of collaboration here in Sweden. We have therefore decided to transform our service company into a svb company and have given the CEO, Jan Lundin, further responsibility and ownership of this part of the business, says Lennart Mankert, Chairman for the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation.

For this reason, the Board of the Association made the following decisions:

The service company Swedish Travel and Tourist Industry AB becomes the Swedish Tourism Innovation Center AB (svb)

Swedish Travel and Tourist Industry AB, which since 1992 has been the association’s wholly owned service company, has been reorganized into a non-profit svb company where any profit surplus in the company is to be reinvested in tourism development. The company will continue to run the office operations for the association but has changed its name to Swedish Tourism Innovation Center to better reflect the development operations towards an international market. The ownership structure is initially the company’s CEO Jan Lundin (91 percent) and the Association’s Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (9 percent).

 The association: The Swedish Travel and Tourist industry Federation (RTS)

The association, with its members, will continue to operate with a continued focus on the development and collaboration for the tourism industry in infrastructure, entrepreneurship and finance.

– Jan Lundin, currently CEO, becomes the secretary general of the association

– The association will continue to operate and be the sender to the Swedish Tourism Gala and the Growth Day. The association is also the sender to reports and analysis on the industry’s development.

– It is both stimulating and challenging to take on the further development of the innovation businesses and projects. Connecting tourism with other areas has proven to bring new values. Therefore, we also need to establish new structures for cross-sector collaborations. We are facing an exciting phase where participating parties, our projects and the external needs will influence the structuring of the future operations and organization, says Jan Lundin, CEO for the Tourism Innovation Center and General Secretary of the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS).

The Swedish Tourism Innovation Center AB (svb) is a national and international arena and platform for cross-border collaboration for increased innovation related to tourism. The vision is to contribute to a better world with tourism as a tool for solving global societal challenges. The Center is a non-profit organization where any profit surplus in the company will be reinvested in tourism development. The company’s advisory board, representing the markets and projects that the center operates, consists of both national and international actors such as the Secretary-General from UNWTO, Taleb Rifai.

The following activities will be conducted in Swedish Tourism Innovation Center AB (svb):

– Responsible for the operational activities of the RTS , The Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation

– ” Down to Earth for Tourism ” with UNWTO

– ” Ultimate Experience ” by Vinnova

– Kurbits Business Development Program

– ” Business Generating System” by Swedish Institute

– “Nordic Tourism Investment Forum” along with the Nordic countries

– , community for tourism businesses

* The abbreviation svb means that the innovation center is a limited company with restricted profit distribution (for more information about corporate form, see the Companies Registration Office’s web site).

Read more about the Swedish Tourism Innovation Center at:

About the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation

The goal of the association is to get the tourism industry to grow. We do this by showing tourism entrepreneurs the opportunities that exist, identify what it takes to be successful and then give support to evolve. Moving from words to action is not always easy. But along with our members, other players in the industry, our ownership in Swedish Tourism Innovation Center AB ( svb ) and together with the public sector, we can build a platform market for tourism industry stakeholders. Read more about the activities of

Kurbits good practices example in EU

October 9, 2013

The European Commission nominates Kurbits, a Swedish business development program, designed especially for small businesses in the tourism industry, as best practice in the framework of the EU strategy “Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination.” The Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry (RTS), is now invited to present Kurbits to the European Union Directorate with responsibility for tourism issues.

Kurbits is owned and operated by RTS and 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 and have with Kurbits developed their business and increase their profitability.

Kurbits has now 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.

– This is incredibly exciting. What started as a pilot project in Dalarna has now evolved into a national innovation system identified in Europe. Our hope is that Kurbits will give ripples for more and contribute to the development outside its borders, says Jan Lundin, CEO, the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS).

Read more

Investment in the Nordic tourism industry has fallen by 17 percent despite increased travel

September 25, 2013

In 2012, investment in the Nordic tourism industry totaled EUR 896.4 million. This represents an overall decrease of 17 percent compared with 2011 (EUR 1,077.8 million). Tourism investment has declined in all countries, except Norway, where overall investment rose by four percent. In Sweden, tourism investment decreased by 21 percent, in Finland with 15 percent and in Denmark the investment decreased the most, going down by 47 percent. This is according to the Nordic Tourism Investment Index, which despite reduced investments, shows record figures for travel to, from and within the Nordic region.

The total hotel investments in the Nordic region amounted to EUR 503 million in 2012, representing a decrease of 25 percent compared with 2011 (EUR 668 million). In total, 24 new hotels started in 2012 in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and it’s only in Norway that hotel investment increased. In 2012, the total amounted investment in new arenas is EUR 229 million, which remains at the same level as in 2011 (EUR 229 million). It is Sweden, which accounts for over 90 percent of the total investment in new arenas.

In Finland, the investment in ski resorts has decreased by 26 percent from EUR 8.5 million in 2011 to EUR 6.3 million in 2012. In Sweden, however, the investments in ski resorts remain on the same level as in 2011 (approximately EUR 29 million).

The state funding for tourism marketing in the Nordic countries is basically at the same level in 2012 with EUR 77.8 million, compared with 2011 (77.4 million euro).

The Nordic Tourism Investment Index also contains a Nordic market analysis that shows that travel and overnight stays in the Nordic countries have increased despite the declining investments in the Nordic tourism industry.

“For the first time, we have figures, featuring a Nordic investor index for tourism. Since 2011, we have seen how tourism investment has fallen, something that seems to continue in 2013. This happens while the world around us is prioritizing up tourism. It is critical to look at what we can do on a Nordic basis to strengthen our international competitiveness to attract more visitors and investors to the Nordic countries”, says Jan Lundin, CEO, Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS).

 About the Nordic Tourism Investment Index

The Nordic Tourism Investment Index is presented by The Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS), Business Sweden, SIVA, Investinor, Innovation Norway and Invest in Finland. The aim is to annually measure the capital investments made ​​in the Nordic tourism industry. The Nordic Investment Index is thus a tool that supports the long-term goal of creating growth through an enhanced Nordic collaboration on investment issues. The goal is to strengthen the Nordic region’s international competitiveness.

 The Nordic Investment Index provides answers in terms of where investments are made, what kind of investments that are made and the volume of investments made in the tourism industry. It also provides a comparison of the investment climate in the different Nordic countries. The Nordic Tourism Investment Index measures investments within five categories: hotels, arenas, winter sports facilities, amusement and theme parks as well as state investment in tourism.

 For the report “Nordic Tourism Investment Index 2012”, see link or contact

BidWinTravel named most attractive investment in the Nordic region

September 25, 2013

Today, the most attractive investments of the year were named at the tourism industry’s Nordic capital markets day, “Nordic Tourism Investment Forum”. After an extensive selection process in the Nordic countries, 12 companies qualified for the event. BidWinTravel was voted “the most attractive Nordic investment in 2013” by the participating investors. Art Hotel Helsinki from Finland was ranked a honourable second and Vikingaland Haugesund of Norway was placed third.

BidWinTravel is an online auction-based sales- and marketing channel for unsold products in the travel industry. Unsold travel products are auctioned to end-users resulting in online marketing (clicks on their website) and new sales opportunities for the travel and tourism industry. Within five years, aims at providing effective, non-liquidity demanding online marketing and lead generation tools to tourism industry in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and England through online auctions and user-memberships.

“We have been listening to some really exciting high quality investment opportunities today and it has been an exciting vote. This year the Norwegians dominated, rated on a first-and third place. The winner has an exciting new concept where all stakeholders are winners. Moreover, the solution is scalable, both across national and sectoral boundaries. Congratulations to BidWinTravel, says Jan Lundin, CEO of the Swedish Travel and Tourist Industry Federation.

The following investment objects participated in the Nordic Tourism Investment Forum:

  • Grönhögen South (Sweden)
  • Iglootel (Sweden)
  • Golfservice (Sweden)
  • PinMeTo (Sweden)
  • Trysil Superpark (Norway)
  • BidWinTravel (Norway)
  • Vikingaland Haugesund (Norway)
  • TravelMetrics (Norway)
  • Punkaharju Resort (Finland)
  • Santa Claus Village Hotel (Finland)
  • Art Hotel Helsinki (Finland)
  • Måland (Åland)

The Nordic Tourism Investment Forum was organised by the Swedish Travel and Tourist Industry Federation (RTS), together with Business Sweden, SIVA, Investinor, Innovasjon Norge och Invest in Finland.

RTS and UNWTO take Swedish tourism innovation to a global level.

June 20, 2013

UNWTO and the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS), take the project ”Down to Earth for Tourism” to a global level. In the coming year, pilot projects in three continents – Asia , Africa and Europe (Sweden), will be carried out. A global network and a platform for Down to Earth for Tourism will be established as a cutting-edge project with space as a catalyst for innovative solutions for sustainable tourism development.

Sweden is among the top contenders for its innovation, space technologies and sustainable tourism. It’s very exciting to see our joint project and partnership on innovation reach the global market. We will present some interesting results on the progress within this coming year. This is a possibility for knowledge sharing and an opportunity for countries to benefit from each other’s development. said Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, will be one of the first advisors in the Global Tourism Innovation Network. The purpose with the global network is to contribute to cooperation in sustainable and innovative development by facilitating benchmarking and knowledge opportunities for sustainable development in the tourism sector.

I am very proud to announce the Secretary-General as an advisor in our Global Tourism Innovation Network. We are now looking forward to spearheading Down to Earth for Tourism together with UNWTO. This offers an exciting new toolbox for finding new innovative solutions to meet challenges for the tourism sector in the 21 century”, says Jan Lundin, President of the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation.

During the coming year, the three pilot projects will be conducted in Africa, in Asia and in Sweden, launched in October 2013 at the Global Tourism Innovation Summit in conjunction with the Swedish Tourism Gala in Stockholm.

Read more about the partnership and project Down to Earth for Tourism below and see:

Information about “Down to Earth for Tourism”

The cooperation agreement between RTS and UNWTO 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 projects around the world.

Down to Earth for Tourism is an interdisciplinary project 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 is used to create new innovations and products.

The project Down to Earth for Tourism is based on “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 with “Down to Earth for Tourism” is to help achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets. This means the eight measurable goals that are about improving the lives of poor people and to create conditions for sustainable global development in the world.

RTS presenterar Down to Earth for Tourism för NASA

June 14, 2013

Jan Lundin, CEO, the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation, was invited to participate in a visit to NASA in San Franscisco with Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang and representatives from Swedish companies and academia. Jan Lundin featured RTS cooperation with UNWTO on tourism innovation Down to Earth for Tourism to establish an international collaboration with NASA.

During the visit, meetings were also organized with experts in areas such as artificial intelligence, green building and sustainable cities.

RTS develops Kurbits Food together with five destinations

June 14, 2013

The Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS) expands the business development program Kurbits towards rural companies by enhancing food and culinary experiences with support from the Swedish Board of Agriculture. Kurbits Food becomes a unique business development program developed together with five destinations for strengthening rural enterprises development and destinations’ competitiveness.

Kurbits Food develops along with Visit Värmland, Småland Tourism, Inspiration Gotland Visit Dalarna via Visit Södra Dalarna and Destination Småland. The forum also included Visit Sweden , LRF, Agricultural Society and menu – Expertise Foods .

Kurbits Food aims is to strengthen rural business competitiveness and contribute to the development of both new and existing products linked to food and food experiences. This also includes working with the destination to make them attractive for both Swedish and foreign visitors.

The pilot program for Kurbits Food will be implemented in each participating destination during the project. Each program involves 10 companies for 6-8 months.

– This is an initiative that we hope will support in all of Sweden where our rural entrepreneurs can contribute to international competitiveness and the development of gastronomic regions , says Jan Lundin, CEO of RTS.

Svensk turisminnovation uppmärksammas i Kina

May 20, 2013

The Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS) and the United Nations Tourism Organization UNWTO launched the joint project “Down to Earth for Tourism” at last year’s UN Conference Rio +20 on sustainable development. Now, the project receives attention in China where Jan Lundin, CEO, RTS is invited to the cities Taian and Changle to discuss the opportunity of preferable pilot projects. Down to Earth for Tourism is now observed internationally as a cutting-edge project with space as a catalyst for innovative solutions for sustainable tourism development.

RTS initierar turismutvecklingsprojekt i Östersjöregionen

May 14, 2013

The Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry (RTS), starts a project to contribute to tourism development in the Baltic Sea region. The project, called “Business Generating System”, 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 for increased cooperation and exchange of knowledge about tourism entrepreneurs’ 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 caps that need 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 environment, attract investment and stimulate growth for the entire Baltic Sea region.

Project partners is the Nordic Council of Ministers in Kaliningrad and representatives from the tourism division at the Ministry of Economy of Latvia and Lithuania.

The long term aim is that the project “Business Generating System” will be identified as one of the EU Commission’s so-called flagship projects as of 2014.

– Alone is not strong. The Baltic Sea region is our common market and the development potential is enormous. Here we have the opportunity to share our experiences and learn from others. With Sweden as a force for innovation and tourism development, we can help to develop a system solution that can be an engine of growth for the Baltic Sea Region’s development, says Jan Lundin, CEO, the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation.

VINNOVA beviljar medel för framtidens digitala turismupplevelser

May 7, 2013

Innovation Agency Vinnova, under announcement Challenge Driven Innovation Initiation in 2013, granted the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry (RTS) to develop digital services to make available a total experience of nature and culture in Sweden. The project title is “The Ultimate Experience”.

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 in the largely untapped potential growth engine. A powerful constellation as a concrete working out practical solutions, services and offerings, we expect to have great potential to achieve collaborative program in challenge-driven innovation spirit. ”

The long-term goal is to develop digital platforms that increase accessibility to tourist attractive, durable holistic experiences of nature and culture in Sweden. Platforms will enable companies in the tourism industry and suppliers of digital solutions throughout the customer journey to develop new internationally competitive offerings based on the current and future customer needs.

Project partners to RTS is: SJ, Strömma Tourism & Shipping, Malmö Aviation, cluster environments Peak Innovation and Future Position X (FPX), Linköping University, Ericsson, ETOUR, Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Swedish Transport Administration, National Property Board, National Heritage Board Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish Forest Agency, Region Dalarna, Gävleborg Region and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), via the project “Centre for eSociety”.

– This is a very exciting development and a major step toward new joint innovation opportunities and we look forward to further developing the project with all involved. This is just the beginning. The ultimate goal is that together we will be able to contribute to sustainable growth, social benefits and market potential, said Jan Lundin, CEO of RTS.