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An otherwise unremarkable door in a workshop next to Gothenburg’s fishing harbour and auction market has attracted many elite chefs. Although they ensure that all the ingredients are lovingly prepared and refined, having the right plate is of the greatest importance. So thinks the 2019 Chef of the Year.

Photo: Samuel Unéus.

We shall begin at the beginning, starting down at the fishing dock. Due to the corona situation, we’ll skip the actual fish auction and move on to Västergården, where the plates are made on which Chef of the Year Martin Moses serves his creations at SK Mat & Människor.

Mia Martinius, the potter who makes more than one hundred plates and bowls every day in her own raw, personal style, has become something of a favourite among style-conscious chefs – not only in Gothenburg and Stockholm, but also as far afield as in Dubai!

She is self-taught, and she loves the pottery workshop and store that she runs together with her three children. Martin Moses has a stack of ceramic plates with him from the Michelin-starred restaurant in Gothenburg. He wonders whether Mia would be able to patch up the plates that have sustained minor damage from the various servings – and he wants the ‘camouflaging’ to be visible. In Japan, such blemishes are often covered with gold, in order to demonstrate the opposite of today’s disposable culture.

Many of those who visit Mia’s store have previously dined at SK Mat & Människor and been enchanted – not just by the food but also by the crockery on which it is served.

“The two things go together”, says Martin Moses. “Serving the right food on the right kind of plate makes all the difference. We eat with our eyes, that’s the way it is.”

In the Instagram age, it is not without importance to have photo-chic plates, or that each dish is served on its own style of plate. Martin and Mia discuss the use of different surfaces for different dishes or ingredients. The next day, the 2020 Dish of the Year is to be announced – a dish that the Chef of the Year gets to design, and that will hopefully become a new classic among the general public.

Standing 196 cm tall, it is difficult for Martin Moses to move around unnoticed in the pottery workshop. Sometimes he cannot resist the temptation to pass a heated plate to his diners, with hands that are accustomed to such heat. Office workers’ hands, however, get a bit of a shock, he says with a smile. So there’s a certain amount of mischief in him. But he is also surprisingly honest about the vulnerability experienced by chefs. Cooking involves sharing a part of yourself – exposing yourself to both praise and criticism.

Martin Moses almost bangs his head on the roof timber in the pottery workshop where he has signed his name. He has added his name to the signatures of other star chefs who use Mia’s plates and bowls.

“I have been really fortunate in that the chefs recommend me to others. I couldn’t wish for a better kind of advertisement”, laughs Mia, contentedly.

The fact that Sweden’s biggest fish auction, where fish wholesalers place bids on fish and shellfish, lies just next door is of course significant. It perhaps also helps that the door to the workshop and store is so anonymous – we take the wrong door, even though Martin has been here many times before.

After Martin has discussed the colours and surfaces that are the best match for his Dish of the Year (which will be crispy cod steaks, served with coarsely mashed white root vegetables, lemon-pickled vegetables and a frothy, creamy dill sauce), we move on to SK Mat & Människor. Evidence of the Michelin star is discreetly on show behind the ‘chef’s counter’. Here, curious diners can follow the craftsmanship of the chefs as they chop and sauté, and pass torches across the backs of freshly caught ocean crayfish.

Photo: Samuel Unéus.

The runner-up in the latest Chef of the Year competition was Martin Moses’ then colleague Ola Wallin, who is now head chef at Upper House Dining in Gothenburg. Either by some kind of magic or perhaps by simple mentorship, a special culture has been created at SK Mat & Människor. Stefan Karlsson, who owns the Götaplats Group of which SK Mat & Människor is part (together with Toso, Mr. P, Bar Himmel and at Park in Gothenburg), was named Chef of the Year back in 1995. He is now chair of the jury. Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip is among the other judges. When this year’s Young Chef of the Year was held, it was won by none other than 23-year-old Anton Kardell, who also works at SK Mat & Människor, with his dish of duck and pike-perch.

Fish and shellfish are particularly close to Martin’s heart. His grandmother in Karlskrona would often serve up meals of fried cod, in all its simplicity. Martin continues this tradition with his own children, although he serves it with stewed spinach. Once you’ve experienced Martin’s touch with fish and ocean crayfish, you are left wanting more. Every year, Martin Moses and his twin brother travel to Lofoten in order to go fishing, although that 50 kg Atlantic halibut has so far eluded them. They never talk about food, however – according to Martin’s brother, the sole purpose of food is to fill one’s stomach. Even so, it was his brother who, at an early stage, kick-started Martin’s competitive nature. They spent their childhoods competing in everything.

Achieving second place in the 2018 Chef of the Year contest was therefore hard for Martin Moses to accept. While on holiday after the competition, he was able to take a step back from his frustration of having ‘lost’ by such a small margin (just one point separated him from the winner), and it was then that he began to plan his entry for the next year. Encouraged by his wife, it was clear that he should seek revenge! The winning dish – ocean crayfish with buckwheat, spruce tips, and grated cured egg yolks – began to take shape in his head. And then came his idea for the dessert – a variation on the ice-cream sandwich, with white mould cheese, malt loaf and apple jelly.

“A normal person would probably have given up after having put in all that work only to lose by just one point. But I can never be satisfied – I know that there will always be a better way of doing things. And, with hindsight, it’s clear that it’s by facing these challenges that you learn new things about yourself. This is something that has made me stronger.”

Although SK Mat & Människor has been KRAV-certified for the past four years, this is not something that features heavily in the restaurant’s marketing.

“Quality is always the most important consideration, and this is our priority. The tastes and experiences we provide are the proof of our commitment and passion in our work, rather than the recognition from any labels or distinctions”, explains Martin. “Having children aged 4 and 7, you care about the state of the world and the effect our consumption has on it.”

According to Martin, the attention that chefs receive nowadays, with their increased public profile, enables them to act as trend-setters. This is something he himself is happy to do thanks to his sustainable approach to local produce, and by taking the bus to and from work each day.

“Sustainability and quality are inseparable from each other. Vegetables that are in season are the best you can get. We really look forward to the asparagus in the spring, and the first strawberries in June – this is when they’re at their very best.”

Martin Moses thinks that it should be possible to charge a little extra when, as during last summer for example, the carrots were extraordinarily sweet and tasty thanks to the warm weather – rather than paying more for organic produce imported from Spain.

Martin believes that Sweden – and Gothenburg, in particular – has a rich larder with ingredients of fabulous quality. He thinks that freshly caught fish and shellfish form an obvious part of Gothenburg’s own larder.

“If we run out of fish in the middle of serving lunch, we just need to make a phone call and we can get more straight away.”

When you work with food, it’s really important to be able to have confidence in your suppliers.

“I think we have found the producers that provide us with the very best. Taste these prawns, for example, that were fresh today”, says Martin as he hands over a plate. “Fresh and juicy – always with the same quality. You always know what you’re getting.”

He also highlights the access to exotic mushrooms, and being able to get newly harvested champignons every day from Östragärde Gård in Sätila.

“The champignons from there are amazing. They’re the size of tennis balls, and with a wonderful texture. Or the herbs from Stenungssund, and the cucumbers from Varberg.”

Almost all the producers Martin works with have their own farm stores, just like Mia who makes her own pots and sells them from her workshop, where customers can linger as long as they like and dream of composing their own culinary creations.

This article was originally published in Magasin Göteborg 2020. Read the whole magazine in Swedish here. Magasin Göteborg is published by the Trade and Industry Group at Göteborg & Co and Business Region Göteborg. The theme of Magasin Göteborg 2020 is ”Sustainable growth – for everyone”.

Text by Ulrica Segersten. Translation by Språkservice. Photos by Samuel Unéus.

We were already doing this in the eleventh century – farming carp on land in combination with growing vegetables. “There’s not really anything new or nerdy about what we’re doing in Floda”, say Matts Johansson and Karin Forsberg from Garveriet.

When the food entrepreneur Matts Johansson first began roasting his own coffee and serving sourdough bread 25 years ago, he experienced several ‘Aha!’ moments with regard to what sustainable food production actually involves.

“From a sustainability perspective, fair and environmentally friendly coffee cultivation is not enough – not if it involves the planned economy. The quality aspect and social sustainability – i.e. that the economic model also works – are also necessary preconditions”, says Matts.

“I think we need to be prepared to pay 10 times as much for our coffee if we are to help coffee production to be both organic and financially viable in the long term.”

Matts needed to understand for himself what the sustainable production of coffee and food really involves, and how this can be communicated without slipping into pedestrian or clichéd sales arguments. Over the years, he has seen how many farmers and cultivators have had to struggle – not least those who try to do things the right way.

“We have many strange expectations of our food: what it should look like, what it should cost, and how it impacts the soil in which it grows. Ideally, we would like to have small dairies producing local cheeses, and small-scale meat farms. But it has become quite clear that much of our knowledge of cultivation, meat cutting and small-scale dairy production is being lost – there is a lack of knowledge-management. At Jernbruket, where we have a local slaughterhouse and the meat is cut (none of the animal is wasted), we need to import the necessary skills and knowledge from Poland and Ukraine.

Matts Johansson is stubborn. Having met with South American coffee growers, local farmers and artisan food producers, who are all struggling to swim against the tide at the same time as there is more and more talk about sustainable production, it is clear that there is a failing somewhere in the system.

“I became really interested in this systemic failure – such as consumers demanding organic tomatoes but not caring that they are imported from Spain. Just 10-20% of our vegetables are produced in Sweden. This is something that will eventually become more apparent when we are no longer able to import vegetables from southern Europe, as a consequence of the coronavirus.”

With regard to vegetables, our level of self-sufficiency is extremely low. As part of its food strategy, the Swedish government has taken the decision to increase small-scale food production. There is, however, a big difference between words on a piece of paper and reality; procurement rules are one thing, but a local lamb producer, whose sheep spend their time grazing outdoors so that they do not need antibiotics, must also be able to support themselves.

“When did you last see a live pig?” Matts Johansson runs his fingers through his greying red beard.

Karin Forsberg finds it strange that, as a mother of three children, she knew so little about the food they were eating at home – that is, until she met Matts.

“I think we have a very blinkered view, and place a huge amount of faith in supermarkets and the state. Do you know how much time a Swedish calf gets to spend with his mother? Two hours!”

“Our cows spend a year in grazing pastures before they are slaughtered”, adds Matts. “There’s a mini-revolution taking place in how we view our food.” Sustainability in how we interact and eat must not be allowed to be a large wet blanket that is draped across people’s lives. According to Matts, we have to begin with the small things. It is easy to lose enthusiasm if we don’t have an in-depth understanding of what we are actually trying to achieve. Both Matts and Karin believe that so-called ‘nudging’ (giving people a gentle push to help them make more sustainable decisions) is the best way to change consumer behaviour.

One example of using nudging to raise awareness is Garveriet’s own courses in sourdough baking, which are held for children and adults.

We need to understand where the flour comes from, and that the way in which we grow our wheat can represent a risk both to nutrient levels and to the very soil in which our food is grown.

As Matts explains, “Monoculture requires the addition of artificial fertilisers and nitrogen, as well as spraying. Around 70 years ago, we chose cereal crops that were best suited to the local area; 20-40 farmers would then take their grain, which had different genetic traits, to the village mill. Each farmer would then leave some of their own seed variety behind. In this way, we developed resistant varieties by a process of natural selection. Monoculture, on the other hand, makes us vulnerable.”

“We need to return to some form of crop rotation. Even cattle can help to rescue our climate, as their grazing disturbs the soil, which is extremely important for bacterial flora and the creation of beneficial conditions for the ecosystems in the soil – the basis of all life. Without worms, the cultivatable layer of soil will become thinner and thinner. Once we’re down to a thickness of 12 cm, we’ll have passed the point of no return”, explains Karin. “The cultivation of oranges in USA, Spain and Portugal has already created so-called salted earth.”

It is not only with regard to vegetables that our self-sufficiency is low. Of the 12 kg of fish that the average Swede eats in one year, 6% comes from Swedish-farmed fish. We import 74% of the fish we eat, and this is mainly from fisheries that are more or less unsustainable. In fish farming on land, which combines vegetable cultivation in a circular system, the farmed fish provide nutrients for the vegetables, and vegetable waste returns nutrients back to the plant-eating fish. The roots of the plants also oxygenate the water.

“What we are doing with Pond Fish & Greens here at Floda is utilising old knowledge. We were already farming carp in combination with growing vegetables back in the Viking Age. And land-farmed fish in combination with rice cultivation has being performed in Asia for a very long time”, explains Matts.

According to Matts, there are great benefits to be gained. The seas must have the chance to recover, and we know that land-farmed fish do not contain any antibiotics or other toxins. It also eliminates the need for transportation, and the fish can be cooked when still fresh. Because they are not predatory, the clarias catfish, which are farmed in large tanks at Garveriet, are well-suited for land-farming.

“It’s clear that sustainability efforts in food production have barely begun. We have realised that we must take a different approach, but we haven’t really decided quite how, and we have certainly not yet begun to take action – apart from the small steps we are taking here in Floda”, says Karin.

“We all have a responsibility to gain as much knowledge as possible. With Garveriet – both the restaurant and the bakery, together with our meetings – we aim to become a forum for knowledge and produce more Aha! moments with regard to sustainability.”

Business models often often lag behind, according to Matts.

“We would love to be able to openly share our knowledge of how we can progress with the business models. Our goal for the future is that Garveriet shall have increased links with research, becoming a centre for sustainability where new solutions for problems can be developed and discussed.”

Having spent a long time checking out various fish stores, and having realised that much of what is being sold is not sustainable, Matts Johansson has taken action and opened a sustainable fish store in Floda. As he says, there’s a mini-revolution taking place.

This article was originally published in Magasin Göteborg 2020. Read the whole magazine in Swedish here. Magasin Göteborg is published by the Trade and Industry Group at Göteborg & Co and Business Region Göteborg. The theme of Magasin Göteborg 2020 is ”Sustainable growth – for everyone”.

Text by Ulrica Segersten. Translation by Språkservice. Photos by Samuel Unéus.

Conditions within the tourism industry have undergone a fundamental shift, and we feel warmly for all those who have been affected. Rarely has cooperation been as important as it is right now. We take our role as a collaborative platform extremely seriously, and we are working hard to provide as much help as we possibly can. Here, you can find out more about what actions Göteborg & Co is taking in the current situation.

For the whole of 2020 Gothenburg will be “European Capital of Smart Tourism” and will mark the year with a wide range of activities. On Friday, Göteborg & Co invited the visitor industry, businesses, the city and academia to share in the task of making Gothenburg an even smarter tourist destination.

“Gothenburg has been given a fantastic opportunity to drive the sustainable development of smart tourism cities in Europe. We intend to carry the title proudly with our stakeholders and showcase our strengths as a destination,” says Peter Grönberg, CEO of Göteborg & Co.

The “European Capital of Smart Tourism” competition was set up by the European Commission to reward cities that set an example in smart, innovative and inclusive tourism solutions. Back in August, Gothenburg was chosen as one of two winning cities for 2020. The city that is appointed as the capital must show strong performance in four categories: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation and cultural heritage/creativity. In its competition entry, Gothenburg highlighted its strengths in all four categories and underlined its ambition to share its knowledge and experience with other destinations.

Around 40 representatives of the city, academia and the business community gathered on Friday for a kick-off meeting for the year as capital of smart tourism. The aim is to get as many people as possible to help make this year an engine of development for the destination.

“It is genuinely inspiring that we are continuing to develop our fantastic city sustainably together,” says Helena Wiberg of Swedavia, who was present at the meeting.

Gothenburg has been invited by the European Commission to exhibit at a variety of trade fairs and conferences in Europe during the year. A range of activities will also take place on home ground, which Gothenburg will host together with various partners.

“There is a real commitment here to make Gothenburg an even better city and destination. We will put this enthusiasm to good use in this project. Working closely with our stakeholders, we will go from smart to even smarter this year,” says Peter Grönberg.

About the prize:

The European Commission awards the title of “European Capital of Smart Tourism” to two European cities at a time. The winning cities must stand out from the competition by developing tourism in smart, innovative and inclusive ways. Helsinki and Lyon held the title in 2019, and in 2020 it is the turn of Gothenburg and Malaga to take over the role of smart capital.

The competition is open to cities in the EU with a population of over 100,000. In EU countries that do not have such large cities, the largest city may enter.

By rewarding smart destinations, the EU aims to promote tourism development that is innovative, multicultural and inclusive. It also aims to highlight how tourism can contribute to sustainable development.

For more information contact: Helena Lindqvist, project manager at Göteborg & Co helena.lindqvist@goteborg.com

Hotel Royal opened 168 years ago on a street corner near Gothenburg Central Station. Its business concept has always been the same: to provide personal service with a focus on the customer. Hotel Royal was recently named Business Hotel of the Year and looks forward to a fantastic year ahead. A lot is happening in Gothenburg’s hotel market.

Markus Oddestad, CEO, and Henrik Lind, Hotel manager.

Last year Gothenburg had more hotel guests than in any previous year. Five million guest nights were calculated in December. And the forecast for the coming year looks promising.

“We expect to receive at least as many bookings in 2020. There’s a lot happing in the city, and there’s a cooperative spirit that makes Gothenburg a great city to run a hotel in,” says Markus Oddestad.

He is celebrating a double anniversary this year. His family has owned Royal for 40 years, and Markus has been CEO for the past 20 years. As soon as you step into Hotel Royal’s lobby with its beautiful ornate ceiling, you can feel the wings of history. When the hotel first opened in 1852, Gothenburg Central Station had not yet been built. But its proximity to the station would later help guests find their way here.

Last week Royal received the SSQ Award of Business Hotel of the Year. The nomination was put forward by a guest. The award may seem surprising for a family-run hotel with only 76 rooms. But the hotel’s small size and family atmosphere is widely appreciated.

The first impression is the beautiful lobby.

“It appeals to guests today. I tend to describe Royal as an artisan hotel. We have a personal touch that is difficult for a larger business to achieve – a bit like a small carpentry workshop. We notice each other, our guests, our suppliers and everyone else,” explains hotel manager Henrik Lind.

Gothenburg is undergoing exciting developments as a city. Major investments are being made in housing, workplaces and infrastructure, and a new tunnel and bridge will soon open across Göta älv river. Several large new hotels are being planned, which will bring the number of rooms in the Gothenburg region from today’s 12,800 to just over 16,000 in the next few years.

“Of course, competition will increase and some hotels will see a dip in sales. But we’re not very worried for ourselves. I think the larger hotel chains will feel the impact more,” says Markus.

He believes that increased competition results in a greater need for cooperation. For many years he has chaired the Association of Gothenburg Hotels (Göteborgshotellen), which gathers together the region’s smaller hotels. The bigger hotels are members of the Association of Large Hotels (Storhotellgruppen). Both associations have the same objective: to promote cooperation in order to increase Gothenburg’s attractiveness as a destination.

“We need to work together to get visitors to board a train and visit Gothenburg. Once they’ve stepped out onto the platform, we can start competing with each other. But until then we all gain by cooperating,” says Markus.

Royal has a high TripAdvisor rating and has been elected ‘Travellers choice’ for eight years running. This rating plays a key role in attracting new visitors to the hotel.

“Yes, definitely. It’s very important for our business, along with online agencies’ ratings. TripAdvisor is the most credible platform for hotels, and we in the industry refer to it a lot,” says Henrik.

He’s not sure whether Hotel Royal’s previous owner, Mia Palm, who ran the hotel from 1945 until 1979, would have approved of TripAdvisor. She certainly didn’t think much of marketing, and once famously remarked: “Oh, people can just take it or leave it. Whoever comes here is welcome. We don’t care about the rest!”

Attitudes might have changed since then. But the hotel’s basic approach remains the same. “We’ve got our product, we change it as little as possible and we don’t bother much about following trends. Guests essentially want a good night’s sleep, and that hasn’t changed since 1850 or 1950,” says Henrik

Gothenburg is at the top among the world’s most sustainable cities for the fourth year in a row according to the Global Destination Sustainability Index 2019. This was revealed on Wednesday at ICCA World congress in Houston.

Annika Hallman recieved the prize from Guy Bigwood, GDSI, and James Reese, ICCA. Photo: Buller

 

The GDSI was launched by MCI-Group together with the international organisation ICCA. On Wednesday October 30thAnnika Hallman, Director at Gothenburg Convention Bureau, was able to accept the award on behalf of Gothenburg:

“In recent years, Gothenburg has taken a leading role and inspired other destinations to become more sustainable. We have lectured and received study visits from other cities and used our top position to drive the development towards a more sustainable meeting industry, as well as strengthening Gothenburg’s profile as a leading congress and convention destination”, says Annika Hallman.

The ranking was made for the first time in 2016 and this year the interest has been greater than ever, and the level of performance has improved. More than 50 cities and destinations participated and among the newcomers this year are Denver, Brisbane and Lyon. The top three cities were Gothenburg followed by Copenhagen and Zurich.

Another achievement was when Gothenburg recently was appointed European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020 by the European Commission. Here, too, the city’s work on sustainability is a weighty reason and Gothenburg was also awarded the special award in the category of sustainability.

“More and more cities are looking at Gothenburg and next year there will be a major focus on how to work to become smarter in areas such as digitalization, accessibility, culture and sustainability”, says Peter Grönberg CEO of Göteborg & Co.

GDSI measures all elements of sustainability: environmental, social and economic. But to gain a high ranking, it is not enough just to involve the hospitality trade, with facilities and hotels; the city as a whole must also be engaged in sustainability issues.

The cities are assessed based on several criteria: such as how effectively the city recycles and disposes of waste, environmental certification of hotels and restaurants, emissions of greenhouse gases, accessibility, the traffic situation, rental bike systems and whether both public and private stakeholders have sustainability strategies in place.

To find out more about the survey and the results for all cities involved, please see: http://gds-index.com/

Gothenburg is the most hospitable city in Europe! Christina Bonnevier from Gothenburg Tourist Centre, which is part of Göteborg & Co, recently accepted the ECM TIC Hostmanship Award 2019 in Ghent, Belgium. The award recognises that she is the best in Europe at greeting visitors.

Christina Bonnevier. Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Göteborg & Co.

“I think this competition is brilliant because it focuses on emotional human values in our encounters with visitors. It feels absolutely fantastic and it’s a great honour to win,” says Christina Bonnevier.

Christina was nominated for the award by her manager, Annelie Karlsson. In her nomination, Annelie Karlsson stressed that working in a tourist centre is a way of life and makes you more aware of what is happening in the city and who comes to visit it. The most significant encounters do not always happen in the tourist centre itself. One such encounter took place in Heden car park one morning, and also played a part in Christina’s nomination.

“I met a foreign family who were here on a visit, and they did not have a credit card that would work in the ticket machine. They were on their way to a meeting and were very short of time. I offered to pay their half-day ticket, but they were reluctant as they wanted to pay me back as soon as possible. I told them they could come to the tourist centre and ask for me, which they did later that day. They were very grateful and relieved,” says Christina.

As well as being the best tourist adviser in Europe, Christina Bonnevier is also an authorised city guide and speaks five languages ​​fluently: Swedish, Danish, English, Spanish and French. Her job also involves authorising city guides and assisting with the city’s tourism site, goteborg.com.

Göteborg & Co invests in personal service by operating the city’s tourist centres, which welcome around 400,000 visitors each year. The company also invests in the website, goteborg.com, which is growing steadily and attracts almost three million unique visitors annually. Good hospitality involves a combination of digital tools and human encounters, which together ensure the best possible results. As a result of good hostmanship these visitors become valuable ambassadors for Gothenburg.

The TIC Hostmanship Award is presented by the ECM European Cities Marketing organisation, which is made up of members from European tourism organisations. To win the award as Europe’s best tourist adviser, a nomination is first required from one’s manager, and the winner is then selected by the management of TIC Expert Group, which is made up of representatives from ten cities. The award was presented in Ghent on October 24, and Christina Bonnevier was there to receive it.

Gothenburg, Sweden, was awarded The European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020 at a ceremony in Helsinki on 9 October. The title is awarded by The European Commission aiming at rewarding cities with the smartest, most innovative and inclusive approaches to tourism development. “This marks the start of a new era for Gothenburg. We are going from smart to smarter, and we intend to be a motor for the entire EU”, said the city’s representative Peter Grönberg.

Peter Grönberg, CEO of Göteborg & Co and the Lord Mayor of Gothenburg Anneli Rhedin are happy to receive the award in Helsinki.

35 cities from 17 EU-countries took part in the competition that evaluates candidates from four categories: sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation and culture & creativity. Ten was selected for the final presentation in Helsinki.

In the entry for The European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020 award, Gothenburg focused on strengths in all four categories and on being ready to share best practices and learnings with other destinations.

Gothenburg is in the digital frontline, with high connectivity and a large number of tech companies. Also, the city is a leader in sustainability, with a number one ranking in the Global Destination Sustainability Index.

– As Lord Mayor of Gothenburg, it is very rewarding to be here in Helsinki to discuss Gothenburg as a smart destination. We are very proud of our city and we work hard to win even more people’s confidence to visit us, said Anneli Rhedin, Lord Mayor of Gothenburg.

– This is a recognition to all the work and creativity that our local partners put in when it comes to making Gothenburg a smart destination. We know that investing in sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation, culture and creativity is wise. With the help from the title, we will be an even stronger ambassador for this mindset, said Peter Grönberg, CEO of Göteborg & Co, the destination management organisation of Gothenburg.

Outtake from Gothenburg’s entry:

Being smart makes what is good even better. Our pocket-sized metropolis has for 400 years gathered people who believe in international and cultural exchange. To anyone who perceive “smart” as a tech term we wish to show another side: a side filled with warmth, inclusiveness and human values. Gothenburg is a sustainable city open to the world.

You are invited to Sweden’s first beer week on 5–13 April! How about a tour on a Paddan canal boat, stopping at various breweries along the way? Or walking the dog from the Beerbliotek to Brewdog breweries? Or enjoying an IPA session, tap-room party or beer crawl in central Gothenburg? The possibilities are almost endless.

Photo: Peter Bergqvist

Gothenburg is often called the beer capital of Sweden. And for good reason. The number of breweries has rocketed in Gothenburg and the surrounding area. The highpoint is GBG Beer Week, which was the idea of Petur Olafsson and Fredrik Berggren and is about to take place for the fifth year in a row.

“The aim of GBG Beer Week is to make the city’s beer culture thrive and grow even stronger. For one brilliant week in April we celebrate the diversity of Sweden’s rejuvenated beer culture,” says Petur Olafsson.

Every brewery has a place at GBG Beer Week: small or large, local or international, broad in appeal or specialist.

“Together we have set in motion a series of events, arranged by breweries, importers, restaurants, pubs and associations, that get the whole city fizzing with refreshing experiences. The culmination is A Beer & Whisky Fair, a two-day event that attracts over 23,500 visitors,” continues Fredrik Berggren.

So why has Gothenburg become the Swedish beer capital?
“Gothenburg has always been a beer city with a proud history of brewing. That tradition continues today, in a unique cooperative spirit as new and established breweries help and encourage each other. Many of these breweries are leading the way internationally, in quality, innovation and ambition,” says Petur Olafsson.

By the way, it is probably not so strange that Gothenburg should be called Sweden’s beer capital. As reported in the regional newspaper, Göteborgs-Posten, in February, two 400-year-old beer taps were unearthed during the construction of the Västlänken rail link in the area around Skansen Lejonet. Beer taps like these were originally used to serve beer from barrels. In those days the people of Gothenburg brewed and drank a lot of beer. A tradition that the people of Gothenburg still hold close to their hearts!

To find out more about Gothenburg’s microbreweries:
https://www.goteborg.com/mikrobryggerier/

GBG Beer Week, 5–13 April:
http://www.gbgbeerweek.se/

A Beer & Whisky Fair, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, 12–13 April:
https://olochwhiskymassa.se/

 

For 40 years, Gothenburg’s large hotels have been engaged in a unique partnership in which competitors team up to attract more visitors to Gothenburg. Today, the Association of Large Hotels is comprised of Gothenburg’s 23 largest hotels and is working more actively than ever.

Kristian Andreasson and Alice von Geijer

Kristian Andreasson is Regional Manager for Scandic Hotels in western Sweden, while Alice von Geijer is Hotel Director of Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel. But they are also colleagues, acting respectively as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Association of Large Hotels, Gothenburg.

“The association works together to promote travel to Gothenburg and develop reasons for visits and overnight stays. We collaborate up to the point where a visitor decides to visit Gothenburg, which benefits all of us,” explains Kristian.

“Of course we’re competitors, but we’re also colleagues with similar jobs. Together we address many ideas and issues of common concern, such as skills provision and how to ensure that Gothenburg and our industry continue to evolve and remain at the cutting edge. We maintain a high level of integrity and are good at keeping our roles separate,” says Alice.

The Association of Large Hotels, Gothenburg, was founded in 1980 as a non-profit association. Back then, far fewer hotels met the membership criterion of having over 100 hotel rooms. Today there are 23 member hotels with approximately 7,000 hotel rooms and 4,500 employees between them. Gothenburg also has an association for smaller hotels: the Association of Gothenburg Hotels.

Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel at Lindholmen. Caption: Per Pixel Petersson/Göteborg & Co

Both associations participate actively in Göteborg & Co’s efforts to attract meetings and events and grow Gothenburg as a destination.

“Our partnership allows us to discuss matters at a different level than is usually possible. For this to work, it is necessary to have Göteborg & Co as a coordinating link. Everyone knows they are a neutral party with no profit-making interest,” says Kristian.

This working model allows all the hotels to be involved at an early stage in Gothenburg’s efforts to attract large scientific conferences or events. For an organiser, it is easier to have one point of contact for all hotels than contacting each hotel separately, as is common in other cities.

“We want it to be simple to do business with Gothenburg, and this method works well. The partnership is unique and causes some degree of envy in Stockholm and Malmö,” says Alice.

The business plan of the Association of Large Hotels comprises four focus areas: Cooperation, Accessibility, Safety and Skills Provision. The association deals with issues such as developing reasons for visiting Gothenburg, making the city more accessible, and conducting marketing and training.

Examples of projects supported by the hotels include Autumn City and Halloween at Liseberg, the Volvo Ocean Race, and supplementary events in conjunction with major events. Other matters dealt with by the partnership include common safety and environmental certification and attracting conferences and events to the city.

“Major conferences and events are extremely important: they bring many guests to our hotels and promote a positive image of the city. The visitors are often hugely impressed,” says Kristian.

Several new hotels are being planned in Gothenburg. There is a strong will to invest, and Gothenburg will have about 4,000 new hotel rooms by the second half of the 2020s. This is over 30 per cent more than today. Meanwhile, housing and workplaces are being built at a rate not seen in Gothenburg for many years.

“The whole city will grow, and this expansion benefits Gothenburg. Another of our aims is to actively develop new reasons for visiting. We in the hotel industry feel a need to participate and contribute in this respect,” explains Alice.

Another role of the Association of Large Hotels is to collaborate with decision-makers over urban planning and development. A hotel contributes to a lively urban environment by attracting a flow of visitors and residents. Staycations are becoming increasingly popular. This is a form of tourism where residents or visitors from the region treat themselves to a weekend in a hotel rather than travelling further afield.

“The initiatives we support and develop should also benefit Gothenburg’s residents. We want Gothenburg to be a great city to live in, both now and in the future,” says Kristian.

On the west coast of Sweden, in Gothenburg to be specific, you will find three hotels at the top of Tripadvisor’s list of the top 25 hotels in Sweden: Upper House is closely followed by the Hotel Pigalle and Avalon Hotel.

This recognition comes from Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards 2019, which are based on reviews and opinions from Tripadvisor travellers over a period of one year. In 2018, Gothenburg took the top two places, but this year the city has taken the entire podium, with three city centre hotels: Upper House in first place, Hotel Pigalle in second and Avalon Hotel in third. Upper House tops the list for the third year in a row!

All three hotels are ideal for visitors who want to experience and explore Gothenburg’s inner city on foot. They are close to museums, the opera house, parks, shopping, Michelin-starred restaurants, bars and cafés. Most are within walking distance.

Design flair in Gothenburg
The three top hotels are also recognised for their strong sense of design, and if design is your thing there is plenty to discover in the city:

  • On 23 February the Röhsska Museum of Design and Craft will re-open after major refurbishment. The Röhsska Museum is the perfect place to explore design from different places and eras.
  • The sauna in Frihamnen harbour on Hisingen is part of the preparations for Gothenburg’s 400-year anniversary in 2021. The sauna was designed by the German architectural collective Raumblabor Berlin. Its sheet-metal exterior is constructed from totally recycled material and the changing room walls are made from 12,000 recycled glass bottles.
  • Along Magasinsgatan, one of the central arteries for shopping and dining in Gothenburg, you can find a great selection of unique designer shops, including the interior design store Artilleriet with its mix of modern and vintage, Rum 21 with its Scandinavian furniture and interior design goods, and Engelska Tapetmagasinet with its wallpapers, cushions and interior furnishings. Another shop that is worth a visit is Miksajo on Vallgatan – a unisex store that focuses on fashion, design and lifestyle accessories.
  • Set in an old factory building in Lindome, just outside Gothenburg, is Spinneriet, which has been developed into a design centre. You’ll find several exciting shops, artists, second-hand shops and a cosy restaurant.

In addition to the top three places, the Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant took 21st place, and Sankt Jörgen Park took 24th place in Tripadvisor’s ranking.

Gothenburg hotels ranked among Sweden’s best hotels:

1. Upper House
2. Hotel Pigalle
3. Avalon Hotel
21.Dorsia hotel & restaurant
24. Sankt Jörgen Park

Open to the world – inclusive, green and dynamic, is the vision for Gothenburg. For two years in a row the city has been named world leader by Global Destinations Sustainability Index (GDSI). With its new tourism strategy, Gothenburg aims to step up the work even further.

Earning a reputation as a clean city by the sea surrounded by lush forests and lakes, Gothenburg has plenty of good examples of environmental initiatives, also as a great meetings and events destination. In 2016 and 2017 the Swedish city received the leadership award by GDSI for its exemplary sustainability performance and commitments.
This year, Gothenburg’s commitment takes one step further by launching a new tourism strategy that addresses overtourism, climate change, social responsibility and environmental issues, problems the tourism industry faces globally.
– Global travel is expected to grow substantially in the future, and destinations must see the drawbacks and handle them seriously. Tourism must contribute to the local society, not drain it. Locals are also our most important ambassadors, and we wish to keep their support and for them to remain a vital part of our destination, says Katarina Thorstensson Manager for sustainable tourism development at Göteborg & Co.
Instead of making a separate sustainability strategy, Gothenburg decided to make the sustainability efforts a part of its main strategies in the coming years. The recently launched business plan “Way to grow 2018 – 2020” sets a new standard where all three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and ecological – are implemented in all strategies.
The plan is developed in close collaboration with the stakeholders. More than 100 people representing the trade and industry, the academy and the city have participated in the process.
– The city of Gothenburg has set an ambitious goal to double tourism by 2030. A growth like this must be sustainable and we as a destination organisation has a great responsibility to see to that the events and meetings we host, the hotels or attractions we offer, all are managed in a way that don’t jeopardize city life itself, says Katarina Thorstensson.