Rovaniemi’s winter tourism boom attracts over EUR 30 million in investments

Located on the Arctic Circle, the city of Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland is expecting a record-breaking winter tourism season, with the number of visitors set to increase by 15-20% compared to last year. The high demand for accommodation has attracted investments worth more than EUR 30 million and there are now almost 1200 more beds available in Rovaniemi to cater for tourists from around the world.

Rovaniemi’s imaginative accommodation options have now become attractions in themselves, offering visitors memorable ways to experience Lapland’s unique winter ambience in glass igloos, glass ‘kota’ apartments, cone cow units, panorama view apartments, ice cottages, and even a wagon adapted for watching the spectacular Northern Lights.

“The exceptional growth of international inbound tourism creates demand for new concepts and services in the Finnish market,” says Hanna Lankinen, Head of Business Development at Finpro, Invest in Finland.

First Chinese investment

Rovaniemi’s winter tourism boom has also attracted the first Chinese Investment in Lapland. Nova Skyland Hotel opened for business at Santa Claus Village in November 2017, offering 14 wooden, semi-detached houses and a glass house restaurant.

“The fast-growing Chinese traveller segment really appreciates Lapland for Santa Claus, snow activities and attractive accommodation options. These are factors that differentiate us from other Nordic countries in the wintertime. Now it is time to develop services and concepts for international tourists also for the summertime,” says Hanna Lankinen.

Boosting accommodation capacity

Finnish companies have invested heavily in increasing their accommodation capacity. Santa Claus Holiday Village itself has 46 new Superior cottages as well as new reception and restaurant facilities. Santa’s Hotels has built 71 glass igloos and a new building for restaurant and reception facilities. Snowman World is opening of 14 new glass apartments and Arctic Treehouse Hotel is opening six ‘cone cow’ accommodation units for the Christmas season 2017.

The tourism facilities are also expanding to Rovaniemi’s surrounding areas, including the Apukka Resort which specializes in northern lights experiences and ice buildings. At Kämppäkartano Vaattunki, a 15-minute drive from Rovaniemi Airport, eco-friendly and mobile Panorama Design Huts featuring glass walls will become available in early December.

More investments planned

Most of Rovaniemi’s luxury accommodation units are almost fully booked during the busiest months of the winter season. According to the City of Rovaniemi, the more unique the accommodation, the more demand there is for it. With demand continuing to grow, there are already plans for more investments over the next two years.

For example, the Arctic Treehouse Hotel is planning to increase its accommodation capacity with investments worth EUR 5 million and Snowman World Glass Resort with EUR 2.2 million. Santasport Sport hotel is planning a new holiday apartment property that will increase its capacity by 240 beds, and Santa Claus Village has also initiated a construction project for a hotel with 46 suites.