Record number of Russian tourists head to Finland

More than 100,000 Russian tourists visit Finland in early January.

As many as 120,000 Russian tourists are expected to visit Finland during January 2011. In addition to the normal cross-border transport services, an extra 35 trains and 70 flights have been arranged to meet the demand.

During the busiest days, about 10,000 Russian tourists enter Finland at the Vaalimaa border crossing. Many come on shopping trips during the January sales, while others enjoy their winter holidays in Finland’s spas, rented cottages and ski resorts.

The Russian economy has been doing well so there have been more Russian tourists travelling to Finland, according to Arto Asikainen from the Finnish Tourism Board. On average, a Russian tourist spends EUR 119 on services and EUR 228 on products during a single trip to Finland, according to the research and analysis centre TAK Oy.

The recent launch of the high-speed Allegro train service has also made it easier for Russians to visit Finland. Asikainen believes that St. Petersburg may develop into a new gateway to Finland. For example, there are direct flights to St. Petersburg from Alma Ata, the capital of Kazakstan, with passengers continuing their journey on the Allegro to Finland.

Source: Helsingin Sanomat