The main aim of the guides is to make shopping at Helsinki Airport more attractive to Chinese passengers.
- The Chinese spend more money at the airport than any other nationality and they have a great amount of buying power. They want to buy local specialities as gifts for their families and friends, but do not always know which of the products are Finnish. This is one of the areas where our guides can assist Chinese passengers, explains Jukka Isomäki from Finavia's Commercial Services at Helsinki Airport.
The guides can recommend which products to buy as gifts, provide assistance in tax free matters and tell the passengers which credit cards and payment methods can be used at the airport. They also distribute brochures and advertising material published in Chinese by Finavia, commercial operators at Helsinki Airport and Visit Finland.
Providing Chinese passengers with service in their own language and acting as interpreters between passengers and customer service officials and other airport personnel are the most important tasks of the guides.
"Chinese tourists do not know what to buy because a common language is often missing. There are now more Chinese signposts at Helsinki Airport and in its shops, and the guides make it easier for Chinese passengers to navigate through the services at the airport."
- The language barrier is a major challenge to Chinese tourists. They do not know what to buy because a common language is often missing. There are now more Chinese signposts at Helsinki Airport and in its shops, and the guides make it easier for Chinese passengers to navigate through the services at the airport, adds Isomäki.
Services in Chinese are now more extensively available at Helsinki Airport.
The guides started on 1 June and already on the first day, there were large groups of Chinese passengers and travel arrangers at their service desks.
- It was great to see that the Chinese tourists found their way to the guides, and based on what we have experienced during the first days, it seems that there is a lot of demand for the service, says Isomäki, expressing his satisfaction with the situation.
The guides will be assisting Chinese passengers at Helsinki Airport until the end of 2016. After that Finavia will decide whether there will also be Chinese-speaking guides at the airport in 2017 and how extensively the service will be provided.
- If the results are good and there is real demand for the service, we might also introduce a similar service in other languages, such as Japanese or Korean, explains Isomäki.
Lenoni Oy, a company specialising in Chinese culture and services for Chinese customers is involved in the implementation of the guiding service.
Chinese passengers a high priority for Finavia
The number of Chinese passengers at Helsinki Airport is growing rapidly. The number of Chinese passengers increased by 50 per cent between 2014 and 2015. Chinese nationals are the fourth largest group of foreigners using Helsinki Airport (after Swedish, German and British passengers).
In May 2016, Finavia opened access to Weibo at Helsinki Airport. Weibo is the most popular social media channel in China and it has about 175 million active users per month.
In early 2016, Finavia concluded a cooperation agreement with Capital Airports Holding Company (CAH), China's largest airport operator. Finavia is the first European airport operator to enter into such an agreement with CAH.