Sweden = retail, wilderness and blondes to foreigners

Snow, shopping and blondes are the most common elements associated with Sweden, according to a survey by the country’s national travel agency.

The poll of 6,400 potential foreign visitors from a whole host of countries, including Russia, the UK, France, Germany and neighbouring Norway, found that the stereotypical view of Sweden is still alive and well; although new correlations are starting to creep in.

According to VisitSweden CEO Thomas Bruhl, “blonde people”, “the great outdoors” and “snow” were some of the most common answers given by people when asked what they associate with a trip to Sweden. A quarter of Norwegians, however, also said they view the country and a discount shopping haven.

Other notable replies included “saunas”, “Greta Garbo” and “mosquitoes”. The travel agency also pointed out that Sweden is still continuously mixed up with other nations, with six percent of Americans associating it with chocolate and 10 percent of French people mentioning fjords in their answers.

The results of the annual survey will be used by VisitSweden, which is jointly owned by the country’s government and its tourism industry, to develop future marketing campaigns.