The whys or why nots of visiting a place: the significance of the information sent out that determines the success of an attraction

Results from the project

What is new in tourist search behaviour?

BFUF Rapport #9
Schweden Schweden

Malin Zillinger, Department of Service Management and Service Studies at Lund University

What is the research project about?
“We will study what the significance of the actual information on a visitor destination has for attracting the tourist to that destination, and the purely practical way in which the tourist looks for different kinds of information.”

Why do you want to study this?
“The Swedish visitor industry hopes to double the number of tourists during the period 2010-2020. In order to achieve this, we must focus more on the tourists coming here. We need to learn more about how they make their decision to visit various tourist destinations in Sweden.”

Has this not been studied in the past?
“There is a certain amount of research on how we are influenced by information on the Internet before we travel as well as a number of studies on the more traditional sources of information such as brochures or guidebooks. However, we are facing a new situation now – there is now an explosion in the amount of information available, and above all we have the ability to access information whenever we like. This calls into question to some extent what we thought we knew. We are doing something new here and linking traditional and new sources of information while at the same time looking at what takes place both before and during the trip.”

How will you proceed?
“We will study the what tourists do in purely practical terms when seeking information before and during their time in Sweden, and see which information sticks. We want to know why they choose to come to Sweden specifically, which information channels they use and how they combine the Internet and “offline” sources. We want to understand more about what they consider to be an attractive reason to come and visit.

We have chosen to conduct this study on German tourists, who form the next largest group of visitors to Sweden. Last year almost 3 million German guest nights were registered in Sweden. We will use a mix of tried and tested methods such as interviews and questionnaires and a new one that is more experimental. We will be on the spot in both Ystad and at Astrid Lindgren’s World to conduct fifty interviews. With the help of the Visit Sweden overseas office in Hamburg we will send out questionnaires to visitors before their trip. Our goal is to obtain 500 responses. The third and more experimental method is that we study 25 German households whose members are planning a trip to Sweden. They will be given the task of organising a trip to Ystad and Astrid Lindgren’s World which will involve spending two days in each place. By using forms of communication such as Skype we will monitor them remotely and record the way they seek information.”

How does this project benefit the visitor industry?
“Our hope is that this knowledge will help visitor destinations introduce a sharper edge to their strategic marketing and information in order to reach their target group. In this way we hope to help the entire industry achieve its goals. We have been closely connected to the industry right from the start thanks to our collaboration with Ystad and Astrid Lindgren’s World.”

What will be the biggest challenge?
“Conducting the actual analysis of the three aspects of this project probably won’t be that easy – there aren’t many who have tried this before. And also there is always the challenge of packaging and broadcasting one’s results to different target groups.”

Give a brief description of yourself and your colleagues
“My two big areas of interest are tourism and method development. I work at the Department of Service Management and Service Studies at Lund University.” Maria Månsson conducts research into media and tourism, and divides her time between Liverpool John Moores University and Lund University. Lena Eskilsson conducts research into destination and place development and marketing, and also works at the Department of Service Management and Service Studies.”

Project facts


The whys or why nots of visiting a place: the significance of the information sent out that determines the success of an attraction

Research organization

Lund University

Project Manager

Malin Zillinger


2016 Mar – 2018 Feb


SEK 1,400,000

Läs om projektet på svenska »

Malin Zillinger


Foto: Hannah Magnusson

Lena Eskilsson


Foto: Hannah Magnusson

Maria Månsson


Foto: Hannah Magnusson