Finnish Lapland sees tourism boom in January

The snow castle in the town of Kemi in south-eastern Finnish Lapland has become an increasingly popular tourist attraction. (Juuso Stoor / Yle)
The number of tourists visiting Finnish Lapland grew by 12.5 percent in January compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary data released by Statistics Finland on Thursday.

The increase is being driven by snow-seeking foreign visitors, who accounted for about four of every five registered overnight stays in the region last month.

In total, more than 382,000 overnight stays were recorded in hotels and other accommodation in Lapland throughout the month of January.

Lapland’s year-on-year increase in tourist numbers is above the 8.2 percent average for the entire country, and is the continuation of a wider trend which saw Lapland set a new record for tourist numbers in 2019.

The total number of overnight stays across Finland was over 1.6 million in January.

French and British tourists lead the way

Nearly 300,000 people visited Finnish Lapland from outside of Finland in January, according to the Statistics Finland figures.

Tourists from France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands made up the top three largest tourist groups.

Chinese tourists were the fourth largest group — but also the fastest-growing — as their overnight stays increased by a whopping 50 percent year-on-year.

The data also revealed that foreign tourists are exploring different parts of Finnish Lapland, with almost all tourist reporting an increase in numbers. The highest growth rate was recorded in the municipality of Kemi, which saw a 41 per cent in overnight stays.

Rovaniemi, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area, saw a 15 percent increase compared to the same period last year, while the villages of Kittilä and Kolari reported a rise in overnight stays of 16 and 12 percent respectively.

Figures do not include Airbnb stays

The figures are based on preliminary data released by Statistics Finland, and includes overnight stays registered at hotels, motels, guest houses, hostels, holiday villages and campsites with a minimum of 20 beds.

The statistics do not however fully cover all tourist numbers, as figures for Airbnb overnight stays are excluded.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Tourism numbers in Canada’s Northwest Territories up 7 per cent, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: How not to promote Arctic tourism – Why Finland’s Indigenous Sami say marketing their region needs to change, Eye on the Arctic – Special report

Iceland: Arctic tourism in the age of Instagram, Eye on the Arctic – Special report

Norway: Antarctic-to-Arctic ultra-luxury cruise announced for 2022, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: New tourism investment brings hope to Russian city as main smelter closes down, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Weak Swedish currency gives foreign tourists more spending power, Radio Sweden

United States: When the ice melts, what will happen to Arctic tourism?, Cryopolitics Blog

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