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Sweden (Not Switzerland) Wants To Clear Traveller Confusion

Do You Mix Up Sweden And Switzerland? You Are Not Alone. But Now, Sweden Aims To Put An End To The Confusion. 
Sweden explains it's not Switzerland
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Visit Sweden

Sweden is not Switzerland. The salty licorice-loving Scandinavian and Nordic country in Northern Europe next to Denmark, Norway, and Finland is not the fondue-famous country in the Alps between Germany, Italy, and France. People still get confused. Maybe because both offer great ski locations? Who knows. Anyway, Sweden is launching a campaign to help travelers understand the difference.

A recent study commissioned by Visit Sweden uncovered that 50% of respondents in America are not confident in their ability to spot the differences between Swedish and Swiss culture.

A Solution for Decades of Confusion

Sweden and Switzerland have long been plagued by the confusion that arises from their similar names. In fact, there have been a whopping 85,000 Google searches in the United States alone asking if Sweden and Switzerland are the same country. To shed some light on the matter, Visit Sweden, the Swedish tourist board, conducted a survey to understand people’s perceptions of the two nations.

The survey revealed that a startling 50% of respondents had difficulty differentiating between Swedish and Swiss cultures. When it comes to popular associations, both countries are often linked to picturesque landscapes and natural wonders. For example, over 80% of those surveyed associated both Sweden and Switzerland with mountains. Interestingly, less than 20% of respondents associated Sweden with its stunning coastline, spanning nearly 2,000 miles. Furthermore, some participants even mistakenly associated the Northern Lights, a famous Swedish phenomenon, with Switzerland.

The consequences of this confusion can be more than just amusing anecdotes. Astonishingly, 1 in 10 respondents admitted to either booking or nearly booking a flight, tour, or activity in the wrong country when intending to travel to Sweden or Switzerland. Such mix-ups have even led to life-changing incidents. Take for instance the story of Anna, a Swedish woman whose mother from Aruba planned to visit Switzerland in the 1960s but accidentally ended up in Sweden. It was in this serendipitous encounter that Anna’s mother met a helpful individual who spoke English, and the rest is history.

In order to tackle this issue, Visit Sweden is taking a lighthearted approach to address the confusion. They are reaching out to their European neighbor, Switzerland, urging them to work together by clarifying the differences between the two countries. It’s a playful yet practical strategy to ensure travelers don’t find themselves in the wrong destination.

Sweden: Luxury of a Different Nature

“If people struggle to separate our two countries, we need to help them. We can’t change the names of our nations, but we can become more distinct. Switzerland is often referred to as the pinnacle of luxury. However, Sweden offers luxury of a different nature, and these differences, in all of their beauty, are what we want to showcase,” said Susanne Andersson, CEO of Visit Sweden.

Sweden (Not Switzerland) Video

When people travel to Sweden, they are often captivated by its natural beauty. From exploring the breathtaking archipelagos by island hopping to witnessing the magnificent Northern Lights, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in Sweden’s accessible nature.

Sweden (not Switzerland) by VisitSweden

Sweden’s plea is simple: “We will be able to celebrate attributes like sandbanks, rooftops, and silence. Meanwhile, Switzerland will focus on banks, mountain tops, and yodeling.” 

The full proposition and information about the Swedish kind of luxury can be read and signed at visitsweden.com/sweden-not-switzerland with the goal that, hopefully, tourists will know that they are visiting Sweden (and not Switzerland).

FlightChic focuses primarily on aviation, part of the broader travel industry. As a publisher based in Scandinavia, this was a story I couldn’t pass up. Besides, it tickles my funny bone. Visit Sweden! It’s very hyggeligt. (While you’re in Europe, visit Switzerland, too; it’s lovely!)

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