Travelling with Dogs – Dog Tourism with a Focus on Quality of Life and Destination Resilience

Jörgen Eksell, PhD, Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University

During the pandemic, many people acquired a dog, both in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe. Many dog owners want tobring their pets with them when travelling, but the challenges are many. How can the hospitality industry meet this growing target group’s expectations and manage the problems that may arise? Researchers at Lund University undertake to explore this subject in a two-year research project.

What is the project ‘Dog Tourism with a Focus on Quality of Life and Destination Resilience’ about?
“We will be studying how the Swedish hospitality industry as a whole and individual holiday destinations in Sweden can become more attractive to tourists travelling and holidaying with their dogs. We will also examine how hospitality businesses can address potential challenges that may arise when dog owning and non-dog owning visitors interact, and how one can work communicatively to resolve these issues.”

What benefits might the hospitality industry see from this?
“During the pandemic, households in many parts of the world acquired a dog. In Sweden, the highest number of registered dogs was reported since 1973. More and more people wish to be able to travel and holiday with their dog, but the challenges are many. There are fewer options for accommodation, less access to restaurants and it can be difficult to find suitable offers, activities or locations adapted to the needs of dog owners and their pets. At the same time, it seems that dog owners are willing to pay a little extra in order to be able to take their pet along for the journey. Here, there are opportunities for the hospitality industry to meet the demand of this growing target group.”

Is there any previous research in this area?
“There have been very few studies on tourists holidaying with their dogs, a few internationally, but research is non-existent within the Swedish and wider Nordic context. Neither is there any previous research on how destination operators can support the development of dog tourism.”

How do you plan to go about the research?
“We will conduct digital focus group interviews and perform an online survey of dog owners regarding their perceptions of travel with dogs. Here we will be assisted in finding participants by the Swedish Kennel Club. We will also recruit via social media, as there are plenty of online dog communities. We will carry out field studies at a few locations across Europe where some dog tourism initiatives are already underway; in Riga, Bruges and a location in the UK. We will be interviewing visitors, destination development organisations and businesses. In order to develop strategies to promote dog tourism in the Swedish context, we will be organising workshops with destination developers, communications professionals, representatives from the hospitality industry and other stakeholders at various destinations. We have already initiated discussions with a few destinations around the country regarding collaboration.”

What challenges do you anticipate?
“One is the task of collecting material from European destinations. From our experience with previous projects, we are aware that this can present challenges, so we will start early. Another is the arrangement of successful workshops at destinations in Sweden, where we are relying on our partners having good networks.”

What result are you hoping for?
“Our ambition is to produce material that includes substantial guidance, good examples and communicational tips on how the Swedish hospitality industry can develop to become more attractive to tourists travelling with their dogs.”

Destination Kalmar, the West Sweden Tourist Board, and the Swedish Kennel Club. Discussions with various Swedish destinations and other stakeholders are ongoing.

Project facts


Travelling with Dogs - Dog Tourism with a Focus on Quality of Life and Destination Resilience

Research organization

Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University

Project Manager

Jörgen Eksell


Maria Månsson och Marléne Wiggill, Lund University


Feb. 2024 – Jan. 2026


SEK 2,200,000

Läs om projektet på svenska »

Jörgen Eksell

PhD in Service Studies
Photo: Lund Univ.

Maria Månsson

PhD in Service Studies
Photo: Lund Univ.

Marléne Wiggill

PhD in Strategic Communication
Photo: Lund Univ.