Finland welcomed almost 12,000 tourists from the UAE in 2018 revealed Visit Finland, the Finnish tourist authority, as it returned to Arabian Travel Market with a unique campaign aimed specifically at Middle East tourists.
Speaking at a press conference during ATM 2019, Visit Finland representative, Joonas Halla, said: “2018 was another successful year for the Finnish tourism industry, not only did the number of visitors from the UAE increase by 20.6% from 9,906 in 2017 to 11,951 in 2018, the number overnight stays during the winter season also doubled. In Lapland alone, the number of UAE visitors increased by 36.1% to 2,791 between 2017 and 2018.
“This year, we have already witnessed remarkable growth, with UAE visitor numbers increasing by 131% in January 2019 compared to January 2018, and 110% in February compared to the same month last year, so we are confident our tourism numbers and receipts will eclipse the successes of 2018.”
Finland’s links with the UAE have strengthened in recent years mainly due to the introduction of new direct airline routes. In October 2018, flydubai started a new direct, daily flight between Dubai and the Finnish capital, Helsinki. Meanwhile, Finnair, the national carrier of Finland, is expected to restart its seasonal Dubai to Helsinki flight later this year, flying between October 2019 and March 2020. Turkish Airlines are set to launch a new direct route from Istanbul to Rovaniemi in December, further widening the reach.
Halla said: “Building on the success of our participation at last year’s ATM, this year we are looking to learn more about potential partners and tour operators we can work together with to promote Finland as the perfect winter and summer destination for Middle East tourists.
“Finland has long been a popular destination within the European market, however we now want to extend our source markets and pique the interest of UAE, and of course GCC residents, who are looking for a new and exciting destination to explore during the winter season, and also experience what Finland has to offer in the summer.”
Finland’s ATM delegation will be showcasing the country as a year-round destination, with a plethora of leisure activities, unique accommodation and cultural attractions throughout the summer and winter.
A host of representatives from a wide-range of the luxurious accommodation providers from Finnish Lapland – a region also known as the Land of the Midnight Sun where a single summer day lasts for over two months – will join the Visit Finland stand. These include the new Design Hotel Levi, which is located on the Levi slopes and set to open in 2019; the Northern Lights Ranch, a unique resort and activity facility; and Levin Iglut, a glass-roof igloo hotel located on the slope of a fell at a height of 340 metres.
Yrjötapio “Y.t.” Kivisaari, Managing Director, Levi Destination, said: “Levi is a year-round holiday destination in the Finnish Arctic Lapland, 170 km north of the Arctic Circle. We are famed for having the cleanest air in the world, the purest water and the most enchanting nature. Every year the small village of just 1,000 people welcomes over 700,000 guests to experience the Northern Lights, golf among reindeer, visit Santa and the Elves, meet the husky dogs, or participate in unforgettable nature adventures.
“The summer and autumn months are a particular draw for guests looking to get out of big cities or hot climates to enjoy our cooler temperature.
“We are currently opening our UAE market and can provide a great variety of bespoke and luxury services to suit all tastes. With five hotels, 850 chalets, 60 restaurants and a lively small village we look forward to showcasing exactly what we have to offer guests in both the summer and winter.”
Also exhibiting from Lapland is the Arctic Treehouse Hotel, located on the Arctic Circle close to Rovaniemi, which will be showcasing its resort of individual suites situated on a steep natural hillside and providing guests with panoramic views of both the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun.
Kämp Collection Hotels witnessed a 20% increase in GCC visitors in 2018 and will be highlighting a range of Helsinki-based properties, including the only official five-star hotel in Helsinki, Hotel Kämp, as well the newly opened Hotel St. George, a luxury property offering holistic care for a healthy mind, heart and body.
Janina Taittinger, Head of Sales at Kämp Collection Hotels, said: “Kämp Collection Hotels consists of the first and finest hotels in Helsinki. Ranging from cosy to luxurious, every hotel represents the crown jewel in its category. It is our privilege and desire to help our guests fall in love with Helsinki – by discovering more than the surface.”
During the summer months, golf, music and film festivals, swimming, food foraging, canoeing and sailing are a very popular pastime in Finland while, when the season changes to autumn, hiking, climbing and wildlife-watching become popular.
Finnish winter lasts half of the year, with temperatures varying between zero and minus 35. In winter, husky and reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobile safaris, ice driving experiences, the Northern Lights, ice-breaker cruises and of course, meeting Santa Claus, are just a handful of must-see attractions for tourists every year.
Halla said: “With a wide-range of exceptional accommodation options, in a safe and hospitable environment, and some of the most breath-taking vistas, Finland has a unique offering for every visitor.” – firstname.lastname@example.org