Lotvonen considers Bollywood, the Mumbai-based film industry as a potential client. Snowy winters make Rovaniemi attractive to filmmakers, he says.
The City of Rovaniemi is exploring investment potentials of energy, ICT, mining, and film industries, in addition to the already thriving tourism, said Rovaniemi Mayor Esko Lotvonen in an exclusive interview with the Daily Finland.
“Energy is one of the sectors that have much potential. We have also noticed the Chinese investing in mining globally, while ICT and clean-tech are the other areas which have significant prospects”, said Lotvonen.
The mayor also named the Arctic Fibre connection, a maritime cable connecting Europe and Asia, as a venture that spells a major growth in the city’s ICT industry. The city is starting to work on the cable project. The connection will pass through Rovaniemi.
According to Lotvonen, the construction of the Arctic Fibre connection will provide a great opportunity for creating data centres along the maritime cable. “Rovaniemi boasts of its cool weather, an advanced energy network, and locally available expertise that, among other things, are required for such data centres”, he said.
According to the mayor, the mining sector is another area prospective investors have been looking into for quite a while. Referring to the huge Chinese investment in mining across the globe, he said: “Lapland is attracting investments in mining, but so far we have not had mining investments in Rovaniemi. Mining is one possible sector which Chinese financiers are exploring.”
The interest of filmmakers to shoot films and television shows in Rovaniemi is also on the rise, said Lotvonen. As examples he named the season finale of the popular US television series “The Bachelor” and the second season of the Chinese reality show “We Are in Love” that were filmed in Rovaniemi.
He considers Bollywood, the Mumbai-based film industry as a potential client. “Hundreds of films are produced in Bollywood every year. The filmmakers recreate the attraction of snow in Switzerland which we have here, so, why not in Rovaniemi?”
Rovaniemi is also continuing with boosting its visibility in tourism.
“Look at the number of tourists visiting Rovaniemi, it is really huge. There has been more than a 20 per cent annual increase in the registered overnight stays by foreign tourists, while the rise in the number of them visiting the city this summer has been over 30 per cent”, said the mayor. He said Chinese visitors alone don’t account for the increase in the number of summer tourists, but tourists from other parts of Asia and Europe, too.
According to Lotvonen, Rovaniemi’s profile as an international city is set to benefit much from the two-year tenure of Finland’s Arctic Council chairmanship. “One big issue is the global Arctic cooperation. Rovaniemi is the Arctic capital of Finland and we are known globally for issues of Arctic interests. For the next two years, when Finland will be chairing the Arctic Council, the main meetings will be held in Rovaniemi”, Lotvonen explained, citing for example the foreign ministers’ meeting slated to be hosted in this city.
The mayor said the Lapland Arctic Host Committee has been established to organise side events of the international meetings to be held in Rovaniemi during the Finnish chairmanship of Arctic Council. He termed the promotion of Arctic know-how as crucial during these meetings.
“We are on the right path. We have the vision to become an energetic and dynamic city. Our vision is to grow in a sustainable way, taking into consideration our environment. We envisage a healthy, modern city where people enjoy living and raising their families”, said the mayor of Rovaniemi.
City of Rovaniemi-Daily Finland Report