Ports of Stockholm with stakeholders submit application for EU funding to support restart of ferry traffic

Passagerare i Värtaterminalen

Ports of Stockholm and Visit Stockholm have applied for EU funding to develop the tourist industry and support a quicker and greener ferry industry restart following the pandemic.

Ports of Stockholm, in partnership with Visit Stockholm, the ferry shipping companies Viking Line and Tallink Silja, and several other tourism industry stakeholders in the Stockholm region, have applied for an EU grant to support the companies to restart following the pandemic.

The Stockholm tourist industry has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the current restrictions, the normal and natural flow of passengers travelling by ferry across the Baltic Sea has completely dried up, with almost only essential transport and work-related travel at the moment. This impacts many sectors of the tourist industry, including hotels, restaurants, entertainment, conferences, shopping and sightseeing throughout the Stockholm region.

"Our shipping company customers have been working very hard, despite the pandemic, to develop their product offerings. With our joint interest in sustainable tourism, we are looking forward in this initiative to augmenting the importance of ferry passengers to growth of the Stockholm region," explains Thomas Andersson, CEO Ports of Stockholm.

Ferry services operating in the Baltic Sea to and from Ports of Stockholm’s ports bring visitors to Stockholm 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The ferries play an important role in the tourist industry that is essential to Stockholm and Sweden. Although the signs are positive for continued growth of the industry, the societal challenges in conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic have brought development to a standstill.

"We believe this grant application is a key part in supporting the entire Stockholm tourist industry. We want to enable continued development of sustainable tourism and augment the abilities of the ferry industry to restart and readjust following the pandemic. Baltic Sea passenger traffic is extremely important in attracting visitors, both for the tourist and cultural industries that are essential for regenerating important job opportunities, maintaining our power of attraction and increasing growth," states Caroline Strand, CEO Visit Stockholm.

The planned project is dependent on funding from The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, which can grant support from the European Regional Development Fund. This is part of React-EU, one of the EU initiatives to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. The decision about grant funding is expected to be announced in the summer of 2021.

With over 12 million ferry and cruise passengers visiting in a normal year, Ports of Stockholm is by far Sweden's largest passenger port, and also one of the largest in the world. The ferry passengers annually generate hundreds of millions of euros in purchasing power in the Stockholm region and create around 8000 jobs.

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