Italians drawn to booming Finland for holidays

Sunset on lake Akujarvi, Photo: Gianfranco Nitti.

ROME - Total number of nights spent at all accommodation establishments grew by 5.3 per cent in 2017 According to preliminary data, the number of nights spent at accommodation establishments in Finland was record high and totalled good 21 million in 2017, which was 5.3 per cent more than in 2016.

 In total, 14.8 million overnight stays were recorded for resident tourists and close on 6.6 million overnight stays were recorded for non-resident tourists. The overnight stays of resident visitors increased by 1.8 per cent and those of non-resident visitors by 14.1 per cent from the previous year.

 The number of nights spent by Russian visitors at accommodation establishments in Finland totalled good 809,000 in January to December 2017, which was 16.0 per cent up on the respective period of 2016. They were still the biggest country of inbound tourism to Finland. Germans came second with 614,000 overnight stays. Their number of overnight stays was 13.6 per cent higher than in January to December 2016. Swedes were in third position with 593,000 overnight stays. The increase from the corresponding period last year was 8.0 per cent.

 British tourists came a close fourth with 580,000 overnight stays. Their overnight stays at accommodation establishments increased by 15.9 per cent. Nights spent by visitors from all the most important countries of inbound tourism to Finland increased in January to December 2017. Of them, overnight stays by Chinese visitors increased most and their number of overnight stays rose to good 311,000, which was 34.3 per cent more than in the corresponding period in 2016.

 If overnight stays are examined for entire Asia, the growth amounted to 21.2 per cent with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore acting as the growth engines. All in all, Finnish accommodation establishments recorded good one million overnight stays for visitors from Asia in 2017, due also to the dense network of flights to Asia arranged by Finnair airline. In addition to those mentioned above, over 250,000 overnight stays were recorded for visitors from France and the United States. Overnight stays by French tourists increased by 10.1 per cent and those by American tourists by 15.1 per cent.

 Overnight stays by Dutch and Spanish visitors grew strongly in January to December 2017. Nearly 225,000 overnight stays were recorded for Dutch visitors, which was 28.7 per cent more than in January to December 2016. Overnight stays by Spanish tourists grew by 22.4 per cent and they amounted to 154,000 in 2017.

 Even visitors arriving from Italy in 2017 registered a strong growth trend: in 2017 there were 152.084 overnight stays, 9.3 percent more on 2016, when they were 135.535. In the month of December 2017 only, overnight stays amounted to 18,565, 15.5 percent more than the 16,833 of December 2016, demonstrating that even the winter period attracts Italians.

 In particular, Lapland attracts more and more, being the region where you can still enjoy unspoiled and wild nature, and ski endlessly, perhaps by visiting Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, or admiring the aurora borealis and the sun at midnight. In 2017, 44,232 overnight stays amounted to 31.1% more on 2016 with 19,724 arrivals, 18.1% more than the previous year’s 16,696. The provinces preferred by Italians are undoubtedly those of Rovaniemi with 21.113 overnight stays and that of Inari (Saariselkä) with 10.966.

By Gianfranco Nitti

Reindeers at Inari, Lapland. Photo: Gianfranco Nitti.