Shopping and tourism trips by Russians are making a significant contribution to Finland’s retail and services sectors. Already 15% of the retail trade in the towns of Lappeenranta and Imatra comes from Russian nationals, and the trend is growing. A third of the hotel business in Imatra comes from Russian visitors.
In 2010, Russians spent a total of almost EUR 260 million in the South Carelia region, which is about EUR 2000 per local inhabitant. In the Kymeenlaakso region Russian nationals spent EUR 47 million and in Etelä-Savo EUR 25 million. Tourism plays a major role in the Etelä-Savo region where half of the spending by Russian visitors goes on services.
Tourism and one-day shopping trips to Finland by Russian nationals have been increasing rapidly in recent years. The car and truck traffic across the border has been increasing by about 30-40% annually. There are currently six different projects to improve traffic flows across the border.
A new survey by the Federation of Finnish Commerce reveals that more than half of the adult Russians living in St. Petersburg has visited Finland during the past two years and almost 20% of the visitors have been to Finland at least four times. The shopping opportunities offered by Finland are major motivation for visitors from St. Petersburg. Their most common purchases are clothes, food, drinks, consumer goods, interior decoration products, and cosmetics.
Source: Kansan Uutiset