The number of overnight stays by foreign travellers in Finland increased in the period between January and March by 14 per cent compared to the previous year. This was the third highest result in Europe.
When compared with its Nordic neighbours, Finland achieved by far the best growth. Winter travellers spent altogether 1.3 million nights in Finland. Sweden came second at 1.1 million foreign travellers stopping over between January and March.
Jaakko Lehtonen, Director General at the Finnish Tourist Board, is happy with the new figures:
— It’s easy to be very happy with these results because tourism is usually the first to suffer from global economic uncertainty.
According to Lehtonen Finland has been especially successful in its winter marketing but its close competitors Sweden and Norway have noticed this and clearly upped their own efforts to develop their winter product offering and invest in tourist centres.
— Competition between Nordic ski centres will escalate significantly in the next few years as Norway and Sweden carry out their present plans, warns Lehtonen.
According to him, Finland must not become complacent because it needs to be able to meet future challenges today and sufficient efforts need to be made to develop products and tourism areas. At the moment Finland’s tourism is prospering mainly due to foreign travellers, which is why it is essential for the country to focus its efforts overseas.
Lehtonen does not believe solely in the power of money. He feels that co-operation between entrepreneurs and the integration of their operations are equally important.
— We have excellent examples of how good co-operation can develop areas and create a win-win situation for all involved. This is something we should all learn from. It’s important to remember that envy shoots at others and wounds itself, Lehtonen points out.
Tourism statistics reported by Maakuva.fi