Good international access creates conditions for businesses to grow and enhance their competitiveness in a global market. This is true of both local and regional businesses, but also of businesses out in the countryside whose proximity to the global market increases as international access in the Stockholm region grows. The Stockholm region is both a growth engine and a transport hub for all of Sweden, which is why international access to and from the region is very important for Sweden as a whole. Furthermore, every new non-stop route means a time saving of around 100,000 work hours a year.
2. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Along with strengthening businesses, increased access can also help to attract investments to the region which enhance private sector activity but also promote research and development. Greater international access also increases the potential for meetings and exchanges in the academic community.
The importance of tourism to the Swedish economy has grown steadily in recent years. Since 2000, the export value of tourism has increased 162 per cent and was estimated to be 6.1 per cent of Sweden’s total export of goods and services in 2012. This increased tourism is crucial for Stockholm. In 2012 alone, 289 new tourism companies registered in Stockholm (Turistnäringens Företagarindex 2013). There are many factors pointing to a continued increase in travel to the Stockholm region over the next 10-year period. An ever growing, affluent middle class in Poland, the Baltic countries and Russia will affect this trend, while an expanding middle class in China and India means that international tourism from these countries is expected to grow. There are also expectations of larger tourism flows from other countries including the US and Japan. To an increasing extent, the world’s growing middle class is travelling beyond traditional European destinations such as Paris and Rome and is beginning to discover other holiday destinations. More non-stop routes to Stockholm are key to bringing this important tourism demographic to the city. Increased tourism strengthens passenger volume on established non-stop routes and can serve as a basis for new ones.
4. CULTURAL LIFE
Increased access also leads to a flow of people to the region, of leisure and business travellers, but also new citizens. Today the Stockholm region has the second highest population growth rate in Europe. This creates potential for increased trade and consumption but also demand for an attractive cultural life.
There is also potential to reduce the environmental impact with more non-stop air links to and from international final destinations given that passengers then avoid flying via other hubs.