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Release 07.10.2021

Business Finland's Healthy Travel Project Solves Urgent Passenger Safety Issues and Offers Playbook for Recovery of the Global Cruise Industry

Project seeks innovative U.S. companies to play a vital role in charting the future of the cruise industry beyond the pandemic

Finland’s Healthy Travel project offers the global cruise industry a lifeline as cruise lines aim to set sail safely once again. In the multi-disciplinary initiative, Finnish academic researchers, cruise companies, shipyards, and subcontractors are coming together to develop and implement science-based solutions that will improve health and safety on cruise ships and in terminal buildings.

Finland’s Ambassador to the United States Mikko Hautala and his team are now connecting American cruise companies with their Finnish counterparts to ensure that the U.S. cruise industry--the largest in the world--is an active participant in the recovery and future of the global cruise industry. “Many of the big cruise ships sailing the Caribbean were designed and built in Finland, and many of our largest customers are U.S. cruise companies,” said Ambassador Hautala. “Our best minds have come up with practical ways to keep passengers happy and healthy and Finnish maritime companies are already implementing innovative solutions. Our aim now is to share our research with leading U.S. maritime companies and enlist them in global recovery efforts.”

The Healthy Travel Project was initiated and funded by Business Finland in the fall of 2020. Researchers in cell biology and industrial management created models to analyze passenger flows on vessels of different sizes and developed processes and procedures to minimize infection risks.

According to KPMG, until recently, cruises were the fastest growing sector of the travel industry, with demand increasing by 20.5 percent over the past five years. With 15 million people in North America taking cruises in 2019, the region was the leading source market for the global cruise industry. Growing demand for cruises also sparked an increase in industry-supported jobs. In 2019, the industry provided 436,600 American jobs paying $24.4 billion in wages--a 3.5% and 5.4% increase from 2018, respectively.

“Expectations surrounding cruises today have changed beyond all recognition in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ulla Lainio, Head of Marine & Ports Global Industry Team at Business Finland. “While the safety and wellbeing of passengers and staff has always been a top priority for the industry, its recovery now depends on taking health and safety measures to a new level to drive stability and sustainability in the challenging years ahead.”

The following are examples of work underway as part of the global initiative:

  • Coughing Finnish robot is ready to join the global battle against pandemics. Breathing, coughing and sneezing with scientific consistency and precision, a new robot head created in Finland produces small particles in the air, mimicking the aerosols and droplets that spread coronavirus when people interact.
  • ALMACO partners with Genano to set new standards for indoor air quality on cruise ships.
    ALMACO and Genano are partnering to provide the marine and offshore industry with advanced air decontamination technology that removes airborne impurities of all sizes, including microbes and the novel coronavirus.
  • KONE’s data-driven research boosts safety and improves people and material flows on cruise ships.
    The elevator and escalator company’s aim is to enhance the cruise experience by developing new solutions for the people and material flows on the ships while improving health and safety on board and in the terminals.
  • Hypercell’s tracking technology and Internet of Things (IoT) solution enhances people flows and safety.
    Hypercell’s IoT platform uses Bluetooth signal sensors to collect data on people volumes, dwell times and flows in indoor and outdoor locations.

Collaborative research projects such as Business Finland’s Healthy Travel project will continue to produce innovations that will ensure the recovery and future viability of the cruise industry for many years to come. “Finland now offers leading technologies and solutions focusing on indoor air quality, passenger flows, safety protocols, and touchless solutions. The insights gained from this vital research are also contributing to the design of new cruise ships,” said Lainio.

Based in the U.S., Lainio also chairs the Michigan-Finland Maritime Working Group, which provides a platform for innovative collaboration between American and Finnish companies and research teams, established under the broader state partnership between Finland and the state of Michigan.

To find out more about the vital work in the maritime and cruise industry supported by Business Finland, visit businessfinland.fito learn more and access comprehensive case studies.

Contact information

Ulla Lainio, Head of Marine & Ports Global Industry Team, Business Finland
+1 (332) 223-0027
ulla.lainio (at)

Mia Eloranta, PR & Media Manager, Business Finland
+358 50 337 2026
mia.eloranta (at)

About Business Finland

Business Finland is the Finnish government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel, and investment promotion. Business Finland’s 750 experts work in 44 offices globally and in 16 regional offices around Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network. Learn more at