UAE visitors to Finland increased by 30% in 2017

UAE visitors to Finland increased by 30% in 2017

The Finnish tourist authority, Visit Finland, has highlighted an increase in global and UAE visitor numbers as the government entity makes its debut on the exhibition floor at ATM with a new marketing campaign aimed at Middle East tourists, contributing to what is hoped will be a record year for tourism numbers in 2018.

Speaking at a press conference during Arabian Travel Market today, Visit Finland representative, Teemu Ahola commented: “2017 was another excellent year for the Finnish tourism industry with nearly 22 million visitors, growth of 7% over the 2016 figures when tourists topped 20.3 million. However, we have already seen an increase in 2018 visitors of 3.1% compared to this time last year, so we are confident our tourism numbers, and receipts, will eclipse the successes of 2017.”

The increase in UAE visitors, explained Ahola, is in part due to an increase in direct flights to the Finnish capital, Helsinki. Finnair, the national carrier of Finland has committed to repeating its Dubai to Helsinki route later this year, flying between October 2018 and March 2019, while Turkish Airlines has a route between the UAE and Finland via Istanbul. Flydubai is also set to launch a new route which will increase capacity still further during the winter months.

Finland has long been a popular destination within the European market, however Visit Finland is now keen to explore other markets and have identified the Middle East where the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, already make up the bulk of GCC visitors.

“After a positive response from ATM last year, where we took the opportunity to garner a better understanding of the region and research the potential outbound markets, we have returned with a dedicated marketing campaign for the Middle East and we’re showcasing some of the leading hotels, resorts and DMCs Finland has to offer in a bid to pique the interest of the market even further,” added Ahola.

Exhibiting on Stand number EU6825 in Hall 7, Finland’s delegation will be showcasing the country as a year-round destination, with a plethora of leisure activities, unique accommodation and tours throughout the summer and winter.

Known as the home of a thousand lakes, Finland is renowned for its vast green forests, long coastline, and one of the world’s largest archipelagos. During the summer months golf, food foraging, canoeing and sailing are very popular, when the season changes to autumn, hiking, climbing and wildlife watching become part of the draw.

In winter, husky and reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobile safaris, ice driving experiences, the Northern Lights, ice-breaker cruises and of course, meeting Santa Claus are always popular attractions for tourists every year.

Finland was recently voted the safest country in the world for holidaymakers in 2017 by the World Economic Forum, one place ahead of the UAE, while Lonely Planet nominated Finland as one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

“Finland has something unique that differentiates it as a holiday destination, from the rest of the world. We offer a wealth of exceptional accommodation options, in a safe and hospitable environment, with some of the most breath-taking vistas. The fresh, clean air, the great outdoors and the wintery conditions during the colder months is something we believe Middle East visitors will find particularly enchanting,” said Ahola.

Those exhibiting on the Visit Finland stand include Timetravels Incoming Ltd., Lapland Luxury DMC, DMC Easy Travel, Artic Travel Boutique Ltd., and Levi Destination Marketing & Sales, all Finnish tour operators and marketing companies offering high-end tailor-made experiential travel tours where the Northern Lights, Midnight Sun and vast nature offering are just part of the experiences available.

Representatives of top class Finnish accommodation will also be on show, including Kakslauttanen Artic Resort, located 250 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland and providing guests with the opportunity to stay in Glass Igloos and take part in reindeer and husky excursions. The Arctic Treehouse Hotel will also be showcasing its resort of 32 individual suites housed in cleverly designed wooden, shingle-tiled cube units, with one side comprised completely of a panoramic window to view the Northern Lights.

Kämp Collection Hotels will be highlighting a range of Helsinki-based luxurious properties, including the only official five-star hotel in Helsinki, Hotel Kämp, as well as the soon-to-be-opened, Hotel St. George, the latest addition to Helsinki’s tourism offering. Rounding out the accommodation showcase is Scandic, who recently completed the acquisition of all Restel’s hotel operations to become the largest hotel operator in Finland.

Visit Finland will be exhibiting at Arabian Travel Market from Sunday 22nd – Wednesday 25th on Stand number EU6825 in Hall 7.

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