Rovaniemi, a nearly 60,000-resident town on the Arctic Circle, is gearing up for a marked increase in the number of foreign visitors.
Several new development projects are already under way to increase the accommodation capacity of the town by hundreds of beds, with the options ranging from premium to budget-friendly, over the next couple of years.
The demand for premium accommodation services, in particular, is projected to increase in the years to come, says Hanna Lankinen, the head of business development at Finpro's Invest in Finland.
The demand, she adds, arises from the ever-higher expectations of many of the visitors discovering Rovaniemi and other destinations in Finnish Lapland. “Asian visitors, for example, have high expectations of the quality of hotel services. Many of them are after five-star hotels and have high standards.”
“This is a great opportunity for any tourism industry operator – but especially for international operators with strong existing ties to Asia – to complement their portfolio with destinations from Finland,” says Lankinen.
A wide variety of options
The rising demand has certainly not gone unnoticed in Rovaniemi.
Arctic Tree House Hotel in December opened the doors to its exclusive suites that, perched on wooden stilts, offer magnificent views of the rugged landscape over the treetops in close proximity to one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rovaniemi, the Santa Park.
Santa's Hotels, meanwhile, has begun constructing a glass igloo village no more than a short stroll away from another popular attraction, the Santa Claus Village. More and more visitors will also have the opportunity to stay at the Santa Claus Village, which is to supplement its existing 49 semi-detached holiday cottages with 11 new ones.
Both of the construction projects are scheduled for completion in the second half of this year.
The accommodation capacity has risen also in downtown Rovaniemi, following the openings of the critically-acclaimed Arctic Light Hotel in 2015 and the more reasonably-priced, yet high-standard, Hostel Café Koti in December, 2016.
Arctic Light Hotel was last year ranked as the 11th best new hotel on the planet by Travel+Leisure, an American resource for information about the best travel destinations in the world.
“Set in the former city hall, the 57-room Arctic Light Hotel celebrates its northerliness to the extreme, delicately walking the line between cool and kitsch with star-spangled headboards, impressive black-and-white photos of native Laplanders, and an 11-foot-tall wooden polar bear standing beside the entrance,” it wrote.
More than a million overnight stays:
- Foreign visitors made more than a million overnight stays in Finnish Lapland in 2015, representing a 2.5% increase from 2014.
- The number of overnight stays by visitors from China and Hong Kong rose especially sharply, by 42.3%.
- Asian visitors accounted for 136,000 of the 1,027,000 overnight stays in the region.
- Almost a quarter, or 258,000, of all of the overnight stays were made in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland.
- Nearly 1,000 passenger jets touched down in Lapland in December, 2016.
- Finnair announced in mid-January, 2017, that it bump up the number of weekly flights from Helsinki to Lapland by 52 for the winter of 2017–2018.
- The state-owned carrier also said it will offer direct services to Lapland from Frankfurt (DE), London (GB), Paris (FR) and Zurich (CH) to Lapland between mid-December, 2017, and the end of March, 2018.