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Central to the success of the SAS trip to this year’s SXSW were direct flights to Austin and the House of Scandinavia pop-up restaurant and event space. There’s even more to come in 2019.

As one of the world’s premier events for the technology and music industries, SXSW represents a great opportunity not just for SAS, but for the many partners involved in the project, too.

“SXSW attracts more than 1,000 Scandinavian frequent flyers representing organizations and companies within tech, music, film, healthcare and media. Just as important are the major topics discussed and addressed here, such as future trends, innovation, sustainability and culture. SAS wants to play a role and be at the forefront of development and so do many of our clients and partners. That’s why it’s so important for us to be present,” says Pål ­Jakobsen, Project Manager, SAS New Brand Experiences.

This year, the venue provided an invaluable meeting point for visitors from all over the world and gave SAS’ many partners the chance to unveil plans, feed visitors and open minds. It will be back in 2019, but this time in a different guise at a new location. 

“This year, there were more than 7,200 visitors over seven days, 31 panels and events, 13 concerts and a sold out pop-up restaurant with 600 people on the waiting list for a table. The interest in cooperating was so great that we simply needed a venue more suitable for the joint Scandinavian initiative for 2019,” says Jakobsen.

The challenge for next year was to learn lessons from 2018 and introduce tweaks and improvements where necessary. One solution was to relocate to a more suitable space, just a two-minute walk from the Convention Center and the other official SXSW venues.

 “In 2019, we know a lot more about what our visi­tors and partners want from a platform like the House of Scandinavia, and for this reason, the ­decision was taken to move to a new, larger location, offering extra flexibility both indoors and outside. It will also look and feel a lot more Scandinavian and I’m sure people will be excited about the programming and cultural content – not forgetting, of course, New Nordic cuisine,” Jakobsen adds.

Alongside the House of Scandinavia, non-stop flights are once again a key part of the SXSW offering. Next year, the plan will be slightly different from 2018. The direct flight to Austin will leave ­Copenhagen in the morning of 6 March and return on the evening of 12 March (to Stockholm).

Once travelers are on US soil, the focus shifts to the event itself. With the schedule for the main event coming together, it’s clear that SXSW 2019 will be as busy and relevant as ever. Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom is one of many high profile keynote speakers on a list that also features several interesting names from Scandinavia. Danish politican Margrethe Vestager, currently serving as the European Commissioner for Competition, will make a presentation, while Denmark will also be represented by “star architect” Bjarke Ingels.

For some, SXSW is more of a knowledge-­gathering experience – a chance to see what’s going on in the tech industry – while for others it’s more about doing business and attracting investment. The House of Scandinavia provides the opportunity for both.

The decision to repeat the project next year was more or less agreed upon even before the 2018 version was dismantled.

“We’ve created a natural meeting point and one that I think is going to be powerful for SAS in terms of brand building, new ventures and reaching out to more current and future travelers,” says SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson. And after all, why change a ­winning concept?

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