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 per cent 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 per cent to 2,791 between 2017 and 2018.
“This year, we have already witnessed remarkable growth, with UAE visitor numbers increasing by 131 per cent in January 2019 compared to January 2018, and 110 per cent 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 is 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.”
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 - joined the Visit Finland stand at ATM. 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.
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.
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