Finland regions

Finland expects a surge in the number of American tourists | News

Nearly a record number of tourists from the United States are expected to come to Finland this summer, while restrictions continue to dampen tourism from Asia.

A passenger at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport walks past a mural promoting northern nature. Image: Justin Lane/EPA

International tourism is gradually recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, and the first large group of visitors expected to return to Finland are not Chinese tourists, but Americans.

“We have more direct connections from the United States to Finland this year than ever before, and this is the most important reason why tourism in Finland will increase sharply,” said Heli Mendewho runs the tourism promotion organization Visit Finland in North America.

According to Visit Finland, about 320,000 annual tourist overnight stays from the United States were recorded in Finland before the pandemic, and this year the number of tourist overnight stays from North America is expected to increase further.

This winter, travel agents in the United States sold personalized one-week Lapland travel packages for between $3,000 and $15,000. Itineraries have included Northern Lights in winter, Midnight Sun in summer, excursions, sauna, culture and cuisine.

Flights are moving from China to the United States

Strict travel restrictions in Asia have brought a temporary change to Finnair’s strategy in this region.

At present, the Finnish airline is not selling tickets to and from Beijing because China has not yet announced when it will allow airlines to resume international passenger flights.

As for Finnair’s other Asian destinations, travel has reopened to Thailand, Singapore and India. By contrast, travel restrictions in Japan and South Korea are not expected to ease until the summer. Direct flights to Busan in South Korea could also begin at that time.

Accordingly, Finnair is focusing on the United States, adding flights to Dallas and Seattle from the end of March.

“We expect North American traffic to be strong in the coming months and for this year, both from here to North America and from North America to Finland, the Nordics and elsewhere in Europe. This demand is important while waiting for the full opening. Asian traffic,” says Topi MannerCEO of Finnair.

Manner expects air passenger traffic to return to nearly pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, but the company estimates that full recovery in passenger numbers will not be seen until 2023.

The increase in the number of flights means the end of layoffs for many of the company’s flight personnel. Finnair has already invited all of its cabin crew for back-to-work training, although not all will be able to start full-time work just yet.