The Northern magic of Lapland is attracting more and more tourists to Finland. Sanna Kärkkäinen, CEO of Visit Rovaniemi, recently predicted in Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that winter 2016–2017 could even break tourism records in Lapland.
Most travelers to Lapland come from Asian countries, Great Britain and Israel, but there’s also plenty of Italian, French and German visitors. The number of Chinese tourists to Finland is expected to exceed 50 000.
For Brits, Christmas holidays to Finnish Lapland are something of a tradition. According to Helsingin
Sanomat, many of these package holidays have been fully booked this season.
According to Finavia’s own statistics, there are over 1 000 000 passengers flying to Lapland and over 4 300 planes landing in the six northern airports yearly*.
Winter wonderland full of snow, reindeer, northern lights – and Santa
Tourists usually come to Lapland to experience winter, the nature and outdoors adventures. The greatest attractions include snow – which is especially exotic for travelers from Southern countries – reindeer, huskies and northern lights, which appear on more than 200 nights in Finnish Lapland.
The clean nature and quietude of the North also bring in foreign tourists. Many package holidays focus on outdoors activities like skiing or reindeer and husky excursions.
Around the holiday season the main attraction is of course Santa Claus. According to Helsingin Sanomat, Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi saw 80 000 visitors in 2015.
Airlines investing into Lapland routes
Lapland magic has also made an impression on airlines, which have been opening new routes and adding capacity to existing routes to Finnish Lapland.
For instance, Norwegian started flying from London to Rovaniemi twice a week in December. Monarch is flying from Manchester and London to Kittilä. Lufthansa began flying directly from Frankfurt to Ivalo and doubled flights from Munich to Kittilä. Germania is also opening three new direct routes from Germany and Switzerland to Lapland next winter season.
Finavia made investments worth 35 million Euros into Lapland airports between 2014 and 2016, and has been involved in tourism marketing for Lapland in cooperation with partners.
*Both arriving and departing passengers are included in this number. Statistics from 2015.