Tourism industry and its employees hurt by Swedish ID controls

Since the Swedish government introduced ID controls at the borders in January, it really has affected the commuters in the Öresund region. Especially, workers in the tourism and hotel sector are affected


By Jakob Esmann

The Swedish border controls already have negative effects on the tourism industry in the Öresund region and the nearly fifteen thousand workers that commute between Sweden and Denmark for work every day. The Danish employer’s association for hotels and restaurants, HORESTA, is very concerned about how the ID controls affect the employees.

“Our commuters are affected by the border controls through tailbacks, waiting time and difficulties in general. We call for a dimensioning of the controls in a way that the everyday commuters won’t have any difficulties. If the difficulties on the journey are too many, businesses simply can’t afford losing the manpower that is crossing Öresund on a daily basis,” says political officer in HORESTA, Kirsten Munch Andersen.

According to statistics from Öresundsintitutet, the controls also have changed the commuters’ travel patterns. During the first three months the controls, commuters going by train decreased by 11 percent compared to the year before, and at the same time car traffic increased by 3,2 percent. 


Tourism and commerce in Copenhagen and Malmö are already feeling the lower travel activities, as longer and less convenient commuting between the countries has resulted in fewer cross-border travelers. There is also fears that in the coming peak season, travellers from the Southern parts of Sweden will not depart from Copenhagen Airport but instead from Swedish airports, and perhaps ID controls will influence visitors going to Copenhagen in general.

In general, the EU Single Market is highly affected by increasing border controls between countries within the Schengen cooperation. Controls cause tailbacks and therefore precious waiting time at the border crossings. The free movement of workers concerns 1,7 million commuting workers who are crossing a European border every single day. Moreover, controls are expected to have certain negative side-effects on the European tourism industry.


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The Nordic Union for Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Tourism sector, is an association of unions in Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, all of which unionise workers of the HRCT industry. The member unions have all made collective agreements with employers organizations and companies in the NU HRCT.

All in all NU HRCT covers seven unions with a total of about 115,000 members.