A new National Tourism Strategy has been published in Finland, signalling the government’s commitment to build on Finland’s strengths in tourism and to support the growth of the sector. According to the strategy, Finland’s major strengths include its unique position as a neighbour to Russia, its attractive tourism regions and the diversity of the country’s tourism centres.
Values running through the entire Tourism Strategy include profitable and productive business activity, sustainable tourism, safety and security, delivering on commitments made to customers, and Finnishness. Mauri Pekkarinen, Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs, has also highlighted the regional significance of tourism in maintaining and increasing employment in tourism centres located in remote areas.
The new strategy sets out the guidelines for strengthening Finland’s tourism centres and networks, and supporting the growth and development of the private sector by improving the business environment for tourism entrepreneurs. There will also be a greater focus on sustainable development in the tourism business, as well as improvements to the infrastructure of the tourism regions and more training to reinforce the existing high level of skills.
Research and market information will be developed and used more effectively, and more resources will be available for marketing and reinforcing Finland’s image as an attractive tourism destination. General economic policies related to taxation, ensuring fluent accessibility and encouraging year-round tourism can also be used to support the tourism sector, according to the strategy.
To achieve intensive growth, tourism development activities will focus on two strategic focus areas: the development of tourism centres and their spheres of influence, and the development of theme-based products and services. Finland’s travel and tourism sectors currently employ 130,500 people on full-time or part-time basis and in 2007 the sector’s share of GDP was 3.8%. The new strategy aims to boost tourism sector employment to 171,000 people and increase sector’s share of GDP to 5.1% by the year 2020.
Source: Ministry of Employment and the Economy