News 15.02.2019

Tourism in Finland stays on record level

Juha Kuva

Last, year, tourism in Finland continued to grow from the record numbers reached the year before. The number of nights spent by non-residents increased by 1.3 per cent, reaching an impressive figure of 6.8 million. The travel industry is growing fast, and Finland has major potential to become the most attractive travel destination among the Nordic countries.

Last, year, tourism in Finland continued to grow from the record numbers reached the year before. The number of nights spent by non-residents increased by 1.3 per cent, reaching an impressive figure of 6.8 million. The travel industry is growing fast, and Finland has major potential to become the most attractive travel destination among the Nordic countries.

In spite of the challenging world situation, the nights spent by non-residents continued to grow, reaching a new record number. This continued the trend from the year before, when the number of overnight stays by foreign citizens increased by almost one million.

 “The Finnish travel industry has been able to maintain − and also to increase on − the new level in travel demand it reached in the centenary year of Finland’s independence. This shows that the achieved growth is structural. The credit for this belongs to companies in the travel and tourism sector, all over Finland, that have taken a strong growth-oriented role on international markets,” says Paavo Virkkunen, Head of Visit Finland at Business Finland.

The last year’s results also reflect Visit Finland’s long-term efforts: systematic marketing on the target markets and global sales promotion, the nationwide development and internationalization of the offering of the regions and companies in the travel and tourism sector. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that this year international tourism will increase in Europe by 3−4 per cent. Competition in the travel industry is getting harder, and, to ensure its positions, Finland must continue to enhance its visibility. The key to success lies in national cooperation.

“There is growing international interest towards Finland, in new markets as well. Turning this interest into demand requires that we take joint action to market smartly the regional diversity and the various contents the Finnish travel industry has to offer. When examined from the perspective of global markets, the diversity attracts people and creates competitiveness,” Virkkunen continues.

Finland’s main market areas remain the same

Europe is Finland’s key market area, since more than half (53 per cent) of the people spending the night still come from the European Union; the share of Asian people staying overnight was 16 per cent.

 “Our geographical location as the easternmost country of the EU, the country closest to the markets of Asia and Russia, is a major market advantage for Finland. However, it also constitutes a risk, which is why it is important to systematically continue the strong market presence in the EU countries and the United States. According to the estimates made by the European Travel Commission (ETC), even in the future, these areas will also provide the biggest growth in tourism flows to Europe, and we believe that the growth has not peaked yet,”, explains Katarina Wakonen, Manager, Research, from visit Finland.

The top five among the nationalities visiting Finland remained the same as the year before: the statistics showed the highest number of overnight stays for tourists from Russia (816 000), Germany (628 000), the United Kingdom (595 000), Sweden (560 000) and China (385 000, including Hong Kong). During 2018, together with Finnish travel and tourism sector companies Visit Finland made the most marketing and sales efforts particularly in the main market areas in Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Japan and in the markets in steady growth, such as the Netherlands, France and the United States. In addition, Visit Finland took action in the rapidly growing new travel markets of India and the United Arab Emirates.

The four major tourism regions

Finland has four major tourism regions that are unique even in global scale: the Helsinki region, Lapland, the Finnish lake district, and the coast and archipelago, each with vast potential to attract growing numbers of tourists. The major regions create the foundation for strong provision of travel services and products, and the building of attractive sub-brands.

“The major tourism region cooperation launched a year ago has gotten off to a good start. The cooperation model we have developed takes account of each region’s potential to promote its readiness to serve as a global tourist destination. The objective of coordinated major tourism region cooperation is to engage actors in each region to cooperate in a systematic manner in order to achieve jointly defined goals. Pooling the regional strengths for international marketing enhances the substance of Finland’s travel brand,” Virkkunen points out.

 

The figures given are based on preliminary Statistics Finland data on accommodation, provided by accommodation operators and camping areas with at least 20 beds or caravan spots with electric hook ups.

 

Nights spent by non-residents in 2018 by nationality, TOP 10 (number of nights spent and change from the year before, %) 

  

Night spent, pc 

Change in nights spent, % 

Russia 

816 000 

-0.7%

Germany 

628 000 

+0.8%

United Kingdom 

595 000 

+1.5% 

Sweden

560 000 

-6.3%

China and Hong Kong 

385 000 

+6.3% 

France 

299 000 

+6.9%

United States (USA) 

289 000 

+7.4%

Netherlands

246 000 

+8.3%

Estonia 

223 000 

+1.4% 

Japan

216 000

-9.5% 

 

 

Nights spent by non-residents in the four major regions in 2018 (number of nights spent and change from the year before, %) 

  

Night spent, pc 

Change in nights spent, pc 

Change in nights spent, % 

WHOLE COUNTRY 

6 828 000

+85 000

+1.3%

CAPITAL REGION 

2 902 000

+36 000

+1.3%

COAST AND ARCHIPELAGO 

+1 031 000

-44 000

-4.1%

FINNISH LAKE DISTRICT 

1 176 000

-2 800

-0.2%

LAPLAND AND KUUSAMO 

1 719 000

+96 000

+5.9%

 

 

For further information, please contact:

Paavo Virkkunen, Executive Director, Travel & Head of Visit Finland | Business Finland
paavo.virkkunen @ businessfinland.fi +358 40 766 6355

Katarina Wakonen, Manager, Research, Global Insight. Visit Finland | Business Finland katarina.wakonen @ businessfinland.fi +358 40 072 3088

Heli Hemgård, Communications Specialist. Visit Finland | Business Finland
heli.hemgard @ businessfinland.fi +358 40 901 5219

Visit Finland works to develop Finlands travel destination brand, market Finland to travellers abroad and help companies in the travel industry go global. We cooperate with travel destination regions, businesses in the travel industry and other export promoters and embassies. Visit Finland is part of Business Finland.  www.visitfinland.fi

Business Finland is a Finnish public operator that offers innovation funding and internationalization, investment and tourism promotion services. Business Finland has 600 experts in 40 offices globally and in 20 regional offices in Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network. www.businessfinland.fi