Finland's tourism sector needs more time to recover: expert-Xinhua

Finland's tourism sector needs more time to recover: expert

Source: Xinhua| 2023-06-14 03:50:00|Editor: huaxia

HELSINKI, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The recovery of Finland's tourism sector is expected to take longer compared to other Nordic countries due to the significant loss of Russian visitors, Kristiina Hietasaari, director of Visit Finland, the national tourism promotion organization, said on Tuesday.

Finland may not reach pre-pandemic levels of incoming tourism until possibly 2024-2025, she said.

According to Hietasaari, Finland is trying to offset the loss of Russian and Asian tourists by focusing on marketing efforts in Western Europe and North America. However, the country faces stronger competition in these regions.

Air connections to Finland has yet to return to the levels seen in 2019, Hietasaari said. "The business situation of the Finnish flag carrier, Finnair, is challenging, and other airlines have primarily focused on other connections. It is uncertain whether the previous level of air travel will ever be fully restored."

The current heatwave in Southern Europe has given a boost to Finland's tourism industry. "Bookings from Italy currently show a 40 percent increase. France and Spain are also performing well. Germany remains the primary source of tourism, but Germans interested in Finland also demonstrate an interest in many other countries," she said.

According to Visit Finland, COVID-19 has caused 12 billion euros (12.9 billion U.S. dollars) in losses to Finland, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has resulted in an annual loss of 1.2 billion euros. Before 2019, Russians accounted for 12 percent of tourists staying overnight in Finland, while Asians made up 17 percent.

Visit Finland launched a new tourism statistics system on Tuesday, which tracks spending and volume, profiles travelers and also calculates the carbon footprint of their journey to and within Finland.

During March and April, foreign travelers spent 512 million euros on 607,000 trips to Finland. The average carbon footprint of a journey, including travel to and from Finland, was 480 kilograms of CO2.

Liisa Kokkarinen, head of sustainable development at Visit Finland, acknowledged the challenges Finland faces in terms of sustainable travel due to its remote location and heavy reliance on air travel. She emphasized the need to develop sea and rail connections for sustainable travel, especially since the country has lost its international rail connection through Russia due to the global situation. (1 euro = 1.08 U.S. dollars)