Finns favour festivities on the fells

A cosy cottage on the fells could be the ideal place to spend the holiday. Image: Yle / Pentti Kallinen  More and more families are opting to spend their Christmas holidays in ski resorts and cottages in Lapland. According to a survey conducted by Yle Lapland, resorts in Saariselkä, Levi, Ylläs and Pyhä are reporting better business than last year.

Officials at the Lapland Ski Centre speculate that this year’s abundant snowfall and the fact that the Christmas holiday will occur on a weekday have prompted more families to head to the northern fells this year.

According to Juha Purhonen of the cottage rental company Lomarengas, half of the 520 rental cottages owned by Ylläs Travel remained empty last year. This year just one-fifth will be unoccupied for the holiday.

Levi is also cashing in on the trend, as the popular resort city is set to ring up record sales this year, said Jussi Töyrylä of Levi Travel.

“December sees many international visitors, but the majority of customers on the weekend and the Christmas holiday are Finns. Many are becoming used to going away for Christmas. This kind of travel and consumer behavior has increased in recent years,” Töyrylä explained.

Christmas in a cosy cottage

Visitors to Saariselkä book 100,000 accommodation reservations each year. This year in particular, the situation looks particularly rosy.

“We have many reservations right up to January 7. Christmas is mainly reserved by Finns but after Boxing Day the nationalities change and the majority of visitors to the fells are Russians,” said Jouni Kanerva of the Saariselkä central reservation service.

Cottages have been in great demand for the holidays and more guests are expected than last year. This means that the Christmas season tends to be a quiet period for hotels, as has also been the case in the past.

“At Christmas people enjoy a fireplace and the smell of the sauna, so staying at a hotel is not that appealing. However the Christmas dinner laid out at the Pyhätunturi Hotel is more popular than ever this year: the two services on Christmas Eve are almost sold out,” said Pyhä local manager Seppo Saarinen.

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