Finnish Lapland marketers see bounce-back from Thomas Cook debacle

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The tourism in Finnish Lapland will not grow in the coming Christmas season because of the bankruptcy of the international tourism operator Thomas Cook, but the winter season on the whole will show an increase, the promotional organization Visit Rovaniemi has said.

Sanna Karkkainen, CEO of Visit Rovaniemi, told the Finnish news agency STT in the weekend that the demand for Lapland tourism is so wide on the world market that the British sector can be replaced. “The demand from Asia continues,” she said.

Karkkainen said the markets will take care of the situation. The number of arrivals from Britain is now expected to be only 10 percent less than last year.

Thomas Cook had offered mainly British travelers the chance to visit Santa Claus, ski and experience the wonder of Finland’s far north, Finnish media reported.

Karkkainen reminded that Lapland recovered quickly from the impact the bankruptcy of the British Monarch Air in 2017. Monarch provided charters and was about to start the scheduled flights when bankruptcy hit.

Day tourists flying in from Britain and returning on the same day have been a Lapland specialty. “But if the day tourists will be replaced with people who stay a night or two, the situation may even improve,” she said.

The number of foreign tourists using accommodation services has kept growing at six percent in recent years. Karkkainen expected the growth to “level off” this winter season, but a growth of some percentages is expected.

During the 2018-2019 season, 1.3 million overnight stays were registered between November and April in Lapland.

In December 2018, according to Statistics Finland, the number of overnight stays in Lapland by visitors from Asian countries increased to almost 61,000, which was 15.2 percent more than in the previous year. China appeared to be the biggest source of Asian visitors with about 32,000 overnight stays in the month.

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