Swedish tourist group targets US gays

Travel and tourism group VisitSweden has launched a promotional drive focused on the US to attract more LGBT travellers to Sweden in a campaign entitled "Stockholm in full glory".

Swedish tourist group targets US gays

“Travel to Sweden is increasing and there is a great potential to increase travel even more. By turning to well-travelled LGBT people, primarily in the USA, we hope to be able to put Sweden on the map as one of the world's primary LGBT destinations,” said VisitSweden CEO Thomas Brühl in a statement on Wednesday.

As part of the VisitSweden campaign, Out Magazine, the world's best-selling gay publication, will dedicate its October edition to Sweden and is set to feature Stockholm, western Sweden and the Ice Hotel in northern Sweden.

The Hollywood premier of the English language version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, scheduled for November/December, is also set to be a highlight of the campaign, with an event for journalists working in the sector.

A blogger from Out Magazine is also planning to visit Stockholm Pride, which opens on August 1st.

While the US is the main focus of the campaign, VisitSweden is reaching out to all well-travelled lesbian, gay and bisexual people who it believes are looking for new destinations to broaden their horizons.

According to VisitSweden's market analysis, involving 16,000 people in 12 countries, the LGBT community is over-represented among urbanites and it is hoped that Stockholm's combination of big-city pulse and nature on the doorstep will prove attractive.

“Stockholm is the perfect destination for LGBT travellers from the USA, with its mix of modern lifestyle, openness and culture,” said Magnus Lindbergh, the project leader for VisitSweden's US office.


Stockholm Open set to serve up a storm

The ATP Stockholm Open hits the Swedish capital on Saturday with international players vying for a piece of the €530,000 ($718,000) pie. Will it be a local Swede who takes out this year's title? The Local chats to the tournament organizer to find out more.

Stockholm Open set to serve up a storm

“All the sponsors, players and organizers are getting ready, I’m really excited,” tournament spokesman Christian Ahlqvist told The Local over the phone, with the sound of tennis balls thwacking around in the background.

Held inside Stockholm’s Royal Tennis Hall, the tournament has been played every year since 1969, attracting some of the biggest tennis names in Sweden and the world.

“All the big Swedish players have played in the Stockholm Open, Björn Borg, Mats Wilander. Former world number one Roger Federer won the title in 2010. We’ve had some really great players, its always been one of the tournaments to play in,” explained Ahlqvist.

IN PICTURES: See Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg’s career in pictures

Headlining this year’s contingent is Spanish world number four David Ferrer who is tipped to take home the trophy.

“Ferrer is coming from Shanghai, he’s a great player and he’s always performed very well here,” said Ahlqvist.

But if you thought it was a one horse race, think again. Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Polish giant Jerzy Janowicz (who is over two metres tall), both 22, are two young players looking to challenge Ferrer and show the tennis world that they belong at the top.

However the odds are against Sweden netting the championship. World number 444 Markus Eriksson is the only confirmed Swedish player so far, although more may find their way through in Friday’s final qualifications. But statistically, the odds aren’t historically in the Swedes’ favour, with the last winner, Thomas Johansson, in 2004.

A strong Swedish presence in the singles may be lacking, but the Swedish men are expected to do better in the doubles.

“Jonas Björkman is making a comeback in the doubles with one of the best doubles players in the world, Robert Lindstedt. So that will be interesting to see,” said Ahlqvist.

As for a tip for the winner, Ahlqvist likes world number 41 Jarkko Nieminen from Finland.

“Jarko is someone who’s been a bit on and off the court with injuries. He’s played here so many times before, he’s almost a Swede. Everyone would love to see him win one.”

Saturday marks the opening ceremony for the Open, which will be held on centre court and is free for everyone. The tournament begins on the same day, with the final scheduled for Sunday the 19th.

Josh Liew

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