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Finnish tourism sector is re-discovering its sparkle

Uusimaa, the region centred around Helsinki, saw more than half of the overnight visits by foreign visitors in Finland in June, according to recent statistics.

Harri Tarvainen / Visit Finland

Fresh statistics show that overnight stays by foreign visitors rose by almost 20 per cent from the previous year in June 2023. With flight connections improving, inbound tourism is set to continue growing.

Foreign visitors had more than 450 000 overnight stays in accommodation establishments in Finland in June 2023, representing an increase of 17 per cent from June 2022, according to data published in July by Statistics Finland.

Uusimaa, the most populous region of Finland, was especially popular among foreign visitors, accounting for over half of their overnight stays following a year-on-year increase of 22 per cent.

The most common origin countries of foreign visitors were Germany, Sweden and the US.

When accounting also for domestic visitors, the number of overnight stays rose by three per cent year-on-year to 2.24 million in June. The inflows of domestic visitors did not change dramatically in any region of Finland, with Ostrobothnia and South Savonia registering the most notable increase of six per cent.

The hotel occupancy rate crept up by two percentage points from the previous year to 56 per cent in June. A hotel room cost visitors an average of 118 euros per night, an increase of three euros from the previous year.

The statistics indicate that the monthly numbers of overnight stays by foreign visitors has been on an upward trajectory roughly since mid-2021, but they has yet to reach the levels recorded before COVID-19. Before the pandemic, tourism accounted for almost 5.5 per cent of all export revenue in Finland.

The annual Savonlinna Opera Festival is held in the city of Savonlinna, South Savonia.

Savonlinna Opera Festival

The City of Helsinki in August reported the results of a study conducted in co-operation with other key tourism destinations in order to measure the economic and employment impact of the tourism industry.

Altogether the study examined the impacts in 54 tourism destinations in 2022.

Vantaa, it found, raked in the most tourism revenue chiefly thanks to Helsinki Airport. Helsinki came in second on the list with 1.2 billion euros in direct tourism revenue, a total that is close to the pre-pandemic level despite the almost complete absence of some of the most important visitor groups: the Chinese, Japanese and Russians.

Visitors spent altogether 1.2 billion euros in Helsinki in 2022.

Aleksi Poutanen

Nina Vesterinen, director of tourism at the City of Helsinki, stated that she is pleased with the trajectory of the tourism industry but stressed that the city has work to do to meet its goals, be it for revenue or sustainability.

“The performance of tourism is measured with many other indicators alongside simply tourism revenue. The important measures are indicators that reflect sustainable growth, such as the employment impact and carbon footprint of tourism,” she said.

The Finnish capital has adopted the goal of becoming the most sustainable travel destination in the world by 2026. Carbon neutrality and environmental sustainability are core elements of its action plan for the event and tourism sectors for 2022–2026 – as factors that can help to differentiate and provide a competitive advantage over other travel destinations.After Vantaa and Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Oulu and Jyväskylä were the main tourism destinations in Finland in 2022.

Spanish airline Vueling is increasing its number of services to Finland.


Tourism flows look set to continue rising in many parts of the country, judging by the number of new flight connections announced in recent months.

Vueling, a low-cost carrier based at Barcelona Airport, in July announced it will resume flights on its route between Helsinki and Barcelona, as well as launch a new route between Barcelona and Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, in December 2023.

“The Vueling routes, both the new and the returning one, complement our airport route offerings very nicely,” remarked Petri Vuori, head of route development at Finavia.

Ryanair, meanwhile, has announced two new winter routes to Finland. The Irish low-cost airline will offer scheduled flights between Rovaniemi and Liverpool as of October 2023, and flights between Rovaniemi and Milan as of November 2023.

The airline will also increase the service frequency on its existing routes to Rovaniemi, to three weekly flights from Charleroi in Brussels, four weekly flights from Dublin and five weekly flights from Stansted in London.

“Like our other airports in Lapland, Rovaniemi’s connections with the rest of the world will improve in the winter season,” commented Vuori.

British carrier Easyjet will set up a connection between Kittilä, the second largest airport in Finnish Lapland, and both London and Manchester. The twice-weekly flights from Manchester will begin in mid-November and those from London later in November.

The low-cost carrier has also unveiled plans to open five new winter routes to Rovaniemi Airport in December: from Edinburgh, London Luton, Paris, Amsterdam and Naples. The routes will be serviced twice a week with the sole exception of Amsterdam, which will be serviced once a week.

Lufthansa will start twice-weekly flights between Oulu and Munich in December 2023. Residents of the Finnish city will thereby have access to the comprehensive route network of Munich Airport, highlighted Vuori.

Appeal that goes beyond nature

Moomin Museum, located in Tampere, Finland, has been recognised with a Travellers’ Choice award from Tripadvisor.

Heidi Mäenpää

Nature has long been a key reason for tourists flocking to Finland.

Timeout in August named Finnish Lapland as one of the most beautiful places on Earth, listing delights such as the midnight sun, northern lights and “nature-loving” people.

“It’s in winter the region comes into its own. Immerse yourself in winter traditions such as ice-water swimming, relaxing in a Finnish sauna and dog sledding through the snowy wilderness,” the global magazine wrote.

Finland’s appeal extends beyond natural sites, though. Culture – be it the quirky kind like mobile saunas and air guitar aficionados or traditional kind like art, design and architecture – is also resonating with foreign visitors.

Finnish Lapland has been named one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Lapland Material Bank / Simo Vilhunen

Moomin Museum in Tampere in August received a Travellers’ Choice 2023 award in the special museum category from Tripadvisor. The awards are granted annually to a variety of tourism sites ranked in the highest decile by travellers using what is the largest travel-related website in the world.

The museum combines a mysterious ambience, unique offering of original illustrations by Tove Jansson and three-dimensional tableaus by her artistic and romantic partner, Tuulikki Pietilä, listed museum director Selma Green.

“Jansson’s Moomin stories have content and dimensions for visitors of all ages. The museum shines a light not only on Moomin adventures, but also on the life and career of the artist through various tours and workshops,” she told.

Founded to house a collection bequeathed by Jansson, Moomin Museum is one of only few museums dedicated to female artists and is visited by around 80 000–100 000 people a year.

By: Aleksi Teivainen