“We are extremely happy to see our Chinese passengers to increasingly choose Finland also as a travel destination and using our airport services both in Helsinki Airport and in other locations around the country. Outside Helsinki, the quickest growth has been achieved in our Lapland airports where the increase of the amount of passengers from China was in the first half of 2018 almost 20 percent. In 2017, the growth rate was 23 percent with Chinese visitors as one of the key contributors. Thus we have launched a billion euro development programme in the Helsinki Airport and a 55 million euro investment program in Lapland to increase capacity and upgrade our services there”, says SVP and Director of Finavia Airport Network Jani Jolkkonen.
Prompt customer experience for Rovaniemi, Kittilä and Ivalo airports in Lapland
Lapland, that is used to describe a major part of the most northern parts of Finland, has become one of the most popular destinations among the Chinese visitors looking for new destinations in Europe and in the Nordic region with its unique landscape, culture and activities. Finavia operates six airports in Lapland.
Through the investments that Finavia will make in 2018-2019, in Rovaniemi - situated in the arctic circle and the home of the Santa Claus - the airport terminal will grow by 75 percent with more convenient facilities and services for the passengers in order continue to fill up the promise for smooth travelling that Finavia promotes.
Furthermore, Finavia airports in Kittilä and Ivalo, other two major locations in Lapland, will also see their airports upgraded. Part of the improvements in Kittilä will be accomplished by Christmas season this year, when the expansion of the terminal for the departing passengers will be opened. In Ivalo, the more spacious facilities in the airport will be opened by winter 2019.
The beautiful southeastern lake area of Finland luring more Chinese visitors too
The fact that Finland is a land of thousands of lakes, has not been left unnoticed by the Chinese travelers. The crescendo of popularity has not been left unnoticed by tourism service providers, either, in Saimaa lake area, the biggest lake area in Finland. Numerous services are ready for increasing the amount of Chinese visitors. As part of their efforts, goSaimaa Ltd., a company promoting tourism in the region, has concluded an agreement with Tencent to create a miniprogram called Lake Saimaa, Lakeland Finland for WeChat to introduce the region and its offering for the Chinese visitors. Also Finavia features the area time to time on its Helsinki Airport’s WeChat, Weibo and Youku accounts.
“Helsinki Airport is the leading transportation hub in Northern Europe between Asia and Europe. It has a great location both in terms of transiting passengers from Asia to other destinations in Europe, as well as within Finland. Chinese visitors planning their way to the beautiful Saimaa lake area can benefit from the smooth and reliable services of the Helsinki Airport where the Saimaa lake area can be accessed in only two hours. In the Saimaa lake area Finavia airports in Kuopio and in Savonlinna warmly welcome all foreign passengers. And don’t forget Joensuu too, which is located by the eastern part of the great lakes area of Finland”, tells Jolkkonen.
Chinese passengers in the heart of customer experience development
The special needs of Chinese visitors are taken into account at Helsinki Airport in several ways. The info signs are in Chinese. There are Chinese-speaking staff and a mobile e-translation service used in the tax free shops and special info stations for Chinese visitors. One can pay with UnionPay and Alipay in most of the shops and there are hot water machines in the terminal. Information about Finavia services in Chinese can be found from Weibo, WeChat and Youku.
Finavia also constantly gathers feedback from its Chinese customers and improves its services accordingly. For example when Mr Zhu Xiaohui from China lived voluntarily at the Helsinki Airport for 30 days in a project called #LIFEINHEL he longed for some more familiar food offer for Chinese. Now, Helsinki Airport will have the first Ajisen Ramen restaurant in the Northern Europe to be opened in 2019 to cater even better the tastes of Chinese visitors.
There are 38 flights from China to Helsinki Airport in Finland each week. Flight connections include Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Nanjing. All routes are flown by the Finnish airline Finnair which started its flights to Beijing over 30 years ago.