Aviation is important for tourism in Sweden
The closer a region is to a large international airport, the larger is the variety of foreign guest nationalities. Stockholm and Uppsala are the regions with the largest variety of foreign guest nationalities. Skåne, with its proximity to Copenhagen Airport, has a much larger variety of foreign guest nationalities than its neighbouring regions.
Aviation is indeed the most common mode of transport for international trips to and from Sweden. Around 70 per cent of international trips are made by plane. The number of passengers on international flights at Swedish airports has more than doubled since the early 2000s. The increase is almost exclusively due to leisure travelers, and especially non-Swedish leisure travelers who have increased by 380 per cent.
Around one third of the total number of commercial guest nights in Sweden can be attributed to aviation. If we only look at foreign commercial guest nights, the share is around 60 per cent. It has been estimated that airborne tourists support approximately 100,000 jobs in Sweden.
Emissions per passenger have decreased but not enough to offset the increased number of flights
The increase in tourism has led to increased transport related emissions of greenhouse gases in Sweden, notably from aviation. Fuel efficiency of air planes and efforts to move toward eco-driving has not been enough to offset the increase in total number of flights.
In addition to CO2-emissions there is an increased recognition that also non-CO2-emissions on high altitudes (altitude effects) have a significant impact on the climate. However, it is not certain exactly how large the impact is from the altitude effects – current best-practice in climate impact calculations is that non-CO2 emissions at high altitudes have almost as large an impact on the climate as the CO2 emissions, on longer-haul flights.
Needs and opportunities to shift away from fossil aviation fuels
To contain the rise in emissions requires a shift away from fossil fuels. The necessary reductions in emissions cannot be attained only by increased fuel efficiency from combustion engines running on traditional fossil fuels, nor by improved air traffic management. Such a policy shift will very much need to be driven by a combination of biofuels, electrification of aircraft, technological improvements and market-based instruments.