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Commentary: Lapland is a sustainably growing tourist destination

Article published
17.1.2024 at 09:53
Rovaniemi Airport
Lapland has been the biggest winner in the development of tourism in recent years. The growth of international tourism in Lapland is a success story in a country where tourism-related glimpses of light have so far been scarce since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The increase in the number of tourists in Lapland has many positive social and economic impacts. Hotels, restaurants, activities and other tourist services have all benefitted from the growth in tourism, which in turn creates new jobs as well as investments and vitality in the region. The estimated employment impact of tourism in Lapland is approximately 12,000 person-years. Tourism demand, i.e. how much money tourists spend annually on buying tourism services and products, is more than EUR 1 billion.

Currently, international tourists come to Lapland mainly from the UK, France and Germany. To get to Lapland, tourists have to cross the sea or go a long way by road. For this reason, functional and efficient flight connections are of the utmost importance for Lapland’s accessibility. The close proximity of airports to tourist services also makes Lapland an attractive destination. When talking about aviation emissions, it is important to remember that aviation accounts for 2–3% of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. All Finavia airports’ operations have been carbon neutral since 2019. In the near future, Lapland airports will reach net zero, which means that the carbon dioxide emissions from the operations of the airports have been minimised and the remaining minor emissions are removed from the atmosphere in a verifiable way.

As tourism develops, the entire tourism chain will continue to bear its responsibilities. The whole industry has set ambitious goals for sustainable tourism. Several tourism operators in Lapland have chosen Visit Finland’s Sustainable Travel Finland programme for tourism companies and regions as their development path for sustainable tourism. In the development of tourism, important priorities include extending the tourist season in Lapland to last the entire year, extending stays and diversifying tourism products in accordance with the principles of sustainable tourism. The common goal is that the commitment to sustainability supports Lapland’s success now and in the future.

Sanna Kärkkäinen, Visit Rovaniemi
Satu Pesonen, Visit Levi
Hanna Kouri, Lapland North Destinations
Kristiina Hietasaari, Visit Finland
Petri Vuori, Finavia

This text is a joint opinion piece by the tourism organisations Visit Rovaniemi, Visit Levi, Lapland North Destinations and Visit Finland and the airport company Finavia on the topical and much-discussed subject of sustainable tourism in Lapland.