The Comeback of Finnish Tourism: How Finland Bounced Back from the Pandemic

*In blog collaboration with Fair center, Helsinki

The Travel Fair is returning to Helsinki Fair Center after a break of two to three years! The last three years have been quieter in travel blogs as well, and the flame of tourism had had to be maintained with a holy spirit. Read what happened at the Travel Fair before the corona in 2020 in Finnish.

Now the Travel Fair will bring the Helsinki Fair Center three days of travel atmosphere, inspiring travel itineraries, presentations of travel destinations and different ways of traveling, and other travel-related topics on different program stages. Along with the Travel Fair, the CARAVAN event will take place as before, and the event will take place next weekend, January 20-22, 2023.

New thing at the Travel Fair is Helsinki as part of the Tasty Travel theme. I’m excited to see what’s tasty from Helsinki at the Food Court, because several Helsinki-based café and restaurant videos have already ended up on my Helsinki playlist on YouTube.

Statistics of tourism from Finland to foreign countries in 2022 (Source: SMAL)

Due to Corona and the lack of tourism for couple of years, Finns have been getting travel fever, according to surveys, and the longing is currently most felt for destinations in Southern Europe.

Greece leads the statistics with almost 185,000 Finnish travelers in 2022, while in 2021 there were only around 36,000. Before Corona in 2019 some 240 000 Finnish passengers visited Greece.

Greece is also the theme country of the Travel Fair this year 2023.

The next most preferred travel destination among Finns last year was Spain, and especially the Canary Islands, where approx. 120,000 Finnish travelers visited in 2022. In 2021, only around 45,000 tourists visited the Canary Islands, while in 2019 more than 190,000 Finnish tourists visited there.

All in all, a total of 140,000 Finns traveled to Spain in 2022, which was only approx. 90,000 tourists less than before Corona in 2019. In 2021, a good 48,000 tourists visited.

Other popular European travel destinations in 2022 included Cyprus, Portugal and its islands, Italy, Croatia, Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Czech Republic, in that particular order.

You can read more about many European travel destinations in my visual travel guide Indivue – Trip to Europe.

My work Indivue – Trip to Finland tells about traveling in Finland and especially in Helsinki.

Here’s how tourism has recovered

City holidays and train trips in Finland are on the rise. When traveling abroad, a safe tour operator is appreciated.

55% of Finns say they will travel to abroad in 2023, which is still a sign of recovery. The demand for domestic trips is also high at the 70% level, although the records of recent years are not reached. Remote work opportunities have extended vacation trips by 3-5 days for those who have the opportunity. Finns have spent a little more money at home than before, but have almost doubled their spending abroad.

“The recovery of tourism started quickly last year. The industry is now suffering from concerns about rising prices and consumers’ confidence in their own finances. However, the atmosphere in the industry is confident”, says CEO of SMAL, Heli Mäki-Fränti.

Noora Haatainen, the business manager of Travel Fair, believes that the long-lasting travel fever will make Finns plan holiday trips and enjoy the international atmosphere at the Fair Centre. “The Travel Fair is a trip in itself. It’s a great way to get to know destinations and cultures and get tips face-to-face”.

In domestic tourism, cottage tourism is reflected in the Lake-Finland region, but city holidays and train tourism have increased their share. Taking trips that focus on moving around in nature is also still at a high level. The interest in vacationing with a caravan is still slightly higher than in 2019.

In terms of tourism’s responsibility issues, equality and human rights issues of the travel destination came to the fore in a survey conducted at the beginning of winter. For one in three respondents, the political/social conditions of the destination are an important issue. This was probably partly influenced by the problems that emerged in the organizing of the World Cup in Qatar. The most common acts of passenger responsibility are using local products and services, such as public transport, and traveling in the off-season. The local culture and authentic experiences of the travel destination had also risen on the value scale compared to, for example, luxury hotels. 13% of the passengers had compensated for their flight.

Trips to remote destinations

Almost 25,000 trips to remote destinations were made in 2022, while the year before there were only around 4,700 trips. Before Corona in 2019, there were more than 85,700 trips to remote destinations from Finland.

In 2022, the most popular remote destinations for Finnish people were Thailand (7579), Cape Verde (8825) and Mexico (2588).

Top ten travel destinations for Finnish people before and after Corona

The top ten favourite travel destinations for Finns in 2022 were the following countries and in the following order (in parentheses also the ranking of 2019) –

  1. Greece (1.)
  2. Spain (2.)
  3. Turkey (3.)
  4. Cyprus (8.)
  5. Portugal (7.)
  6. Italy (5.)
  7. Croatia (6.)
  8. Cape Verde (-)
  9. Austria (-)
  10. Thailand (4.)

So if a Finnish travel blogger wants a lot of visitors to her blog, she should write about these destinations.

However, check also my visual travel guides in Finnish to India and to Goa!

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