Travel and Tourism in Finland to 2017
Finland has an abundance of natural attractions, including 37 national parks from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to Lapland. The country is popular for outdoor activities such as Nordic skiing, golf, fishing, yachting, lake cruises and hiking. Finland’s main competitors in the international tourism markets are Sweden and Norway. Finland’s economy did suffer due to the adverse impact of global financial crisis. However, the economic outlook is improving and as a result, the tourism sector is set to record fairly healthy growth.
– The tourism sector suffered during the global financial crisis, which caused a decline in tourism activities and tourism spending in 2009, including domestic, inbound and outbound tourism. Although the economies in the Eurozone remain weak, Finland is expected to record stable growth in international arrivals over the forecast period.
– Domestic tourist volume increased from 31.1 million trips in 2008 to 36.3 million trips in 2012, and it is expected that domestic tourist volume will continue to expand over the forecast period, with forecast CAGR of 2.59% over next five years. Domestic demand will be mainly driven by economic growth and government initiatives to promote tourism in the country.
– Domestic tourism is largely divided between organized tours or free-for-all vacations which involve camping in distant locations. Finns like camping for leisure, a trend which has contributed to the country’s developing tourism infrastructure.
– Finland is a key destination in the travel itinerary of tourists from the countries which were part of the former Soviet bloc. Citizens from Nordic countries, such as Denmark, Norway and Sweden, travel to Finland because they share similar cultures. Additionally, transport links between the countries are well established and visa procedures for citizens of these countries are not so complex.
– Domestic economic weakness has constrained outbound travel in recent years. The economy contracted sharply in 2009, resulting in a decline in outbound travel.
– The number of seats available in the air transport market increased from 22.2 million in 2008 to 26 million in 2012, at a CAGR of 4.12%. Full-service airlines held the largest share of the total number of seats with 79.6% in 2012, followed by low-cost airlines with 11.2% and charter airlines with 9.3%.
– Location plays an important role for the growth in hotel occupancy rates, as leisure or business tourists tend to choose hotels mainly for their location rather than their facilities. Most of the leading hotels or hospitality companies are situated in or operate from the country’s major urban centers, principally Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa and Turku. Substantial recent growth in the number of hotels was recorded in Helsinki.
– The majority of Finns travel in groups, and when they travel domestically by road, they do so using their own vehicles. Renting a car is expensive, insurance is mandatory and included in the cost of the rental. Most small towns have little or no parking and some do not permit cars at all.
– The well-developed e-commerce sector is making it essential for travel agents and tour operators to adopt self-booking tools to remain competitive. Tour operators generally sell their products and services through travel agents. Despite the growth in online travel bookings, senior citizens and those in the lower income groups still continue to purchase trips from traditional channels.
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