Record Visitation Expected for Winter Tourism in Northern Finland

Moutain biking in Lapland by Roll Outdoors
Winter cycling in the mountain Kiilopää, in Urho Kekkonen National Park. (Photo: Roll Outdoors)

Tourism in Finnish Lapland is expected to increase significantly this winter. The number of visitors from Europe, USA, and South-Asia is rising.

Based on advance bookings, Christmas tourism to Finnish Lapland will achieve visitor records this year. That is reported by the Finnish newspaper Yle.

The pace is now increasing day by day, says CEO of Visit Rovaniemi, Sanna Kärkkäinen, to the newspaper. The number of visitors and bookings indicate an increase from the record year 2019, she adds.

The high season for international tourism in Lapland takes place in the winter and especially around Christmas. Tourism is of great importance for the regional economy.

Managing director of Finland's largest private hotel chain Lapland Hotels, Ari Vuorentausta, can also speak of many bookings and says that the December tourism is currently looking good, according to the newspaper.

However, the increase in the cost level creates problems.

"In terms of turnover, December looks good, but the profitability is absorbed by rising costs. Prices have been agreed with large customers even before the current crisis," says Vuorentausta.

Tourist groups are changing

Nonetheless, the tourism industry in Finland's Lapland is picking up again after a few years of negative development during the COVID pandemic.

According to statistics from Business Lapland, 3.1 million overnight stays were registered in the region in 2019. In 2020, the number of overnight stays fell to 2.1 million due to the pandemic. After the spring of 2020, domestic tourism recovered somewhat, but the lack of international customers kept the general development low. 

European tourists are now helping make up for the decrease in both Chinese and Russian tourism. Europeans are now the largest group, as well as travelers from South Asia, the USA, and Australia writes Yle.

Business Lapland informs that Chinese tourists were not among the six largest tourist groups in 2021. No less than 89 percent of international overnight stays were registered to European travelers.

This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.