The significant difference in governmental approaches between the UK and Sweden are reflected in GlobalData’s latest Covid-19 Consumer Survey. Whilst Sweden’s laid back approach may be helping to keep its national economy in check and domestic tourism flows circulating, it could end up prolonging its tourism recovery if a lack of social distancing creates a future surge in infection cases.

Of the four countries surveyed, respondents in the UK are the most concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus. 50% of respondents in the UK said they were ‘extremely concerned’, while in Sweden, the same response came from just 21%. Sweden opted for a laid back approach in regards to combatting the impact of Covid-19, led by the state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. This may be the reason for the lack of concern in comparison to other nations. Instead of a long lockdown period, social distancing is a matter of self-regulation. Citizens were instructed to use their judgment, and to take individual responsibility within a framework that rested on mutual trust, rather than top-down control.

This approach is highly beneficial for companies that operate heavily in the domestic tourism market in Sweden. Citizens can still move around the country, meaning that many tourism organisations will be at a lower risk of bankruptcy in comparison to tourism-related companies in other nations that are subject to long lockdown periods. However, the approach could lead to a sizeable spike in its national infection rate in the future if the government’s trust is misplaced and Swedes do not socially distance in an effective manner. This could dramatically extend the recovery period and harm domestic and inbound tourism flows in the medium and long term if the nation is forced in to lockdown when other European nations begin to ease restrictions.

One of the nations in this position could be the UK. The peak of coronavirus infections in the UK has been reached, according to many experts. This agreement now raises pressure on the government to reveal plans for lifting the lockdown as the country enters its fifth week of isolation. There will likely to be surge in domestic tourism in the UK when restrictions that banned domestic travel are lifted. All tourism related companies in the UK need to now be planning for how they can maximise bookings and revenue when this occurs. Companies that act proactively will reap the rewards.

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