Foreign tourists spent EUR 4.4 billion in Finland in 2012, according to the Finnish Tourist Board. The figure has doubled in the past ten years and represents 8% of Finland’s total export earnings. Last year the number of tourists visiting Finland increased by more than 5%. Globally the tourism sector is growing by 3–4%.
The outlook for increasing tourism to Finland from the Asian countries is especially positive, according to the Finnish Tourist Board. A slight fall in the number of European tourists visiting Finland has already been more than offset by the rising number of tourists from Russia, Japan and China. South Korea’s economic growth also represents an opportunity for the tourism sector in Finland.
Opportunities for growth
Jaakko Lehtonen, Director General at the Finnish Tourist Board, believes that Finland’s tourism sector still has many opportunities to grow and develop. One challenge is the small average size of the companies operating in the sector. Over 90% of the 25,000 companies operating in the sector consist of small companies.
This means that only few companies have the resources to invest in international marketing. The Finnish Tourist Board and regional organisations play an important role in helping companies to internationalise. The tourism sector employs 130,000 people in Finland, including many young people and immigrants who play an important role in the sector thanks to their language skills and cultural knowledge.
Source: Finnish Tourist Board