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Rovaniemi swarmed with winter tourists

1/2/2017 8:00 AM

A continued streaming in of international tourists in large numbers has turned Rovaniemi into a city of tourists during the ongoing Christmas and New Year season same as the previous years.

The Santa Claus Village, Arktikum, city centre and markets are all dotted with foreign tourists, particularly from China and Japan.

According to the tour operators and accommodation facilities in the city, the number of international tourists is much higher this year from that in the previous year and are seen to continue rising significantly in the coming years.

The residential hotels sources in the city said they have remained almost full in November and December and according to their estimate, the flowing in of tourists would continue during the entire winter.

“We are getting more tourists this year. Particularly the number of Chinese and Japanese tourists has increased significantly,” said the manager at a residential hotel.

The manager also mentioned the announcement made by Alitrip, the travel-booking website of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, of its plan to bring 50,000 Chinese tourists to Rovaniemi in 2017.

A number of airlines have already started direct flights to Rovaniemi from different European cities, following the onrush of foreign tourists.

“I have come here along with my family to pass the Christmas vacation in the hometown of Santa Claus,” said a Chinese tourist visiting the Ice Walls at Lordi’s Square. His wife and two kids are accompanying him.

Another tourist, from Japan, said she selected Rovainiemi as her destination this year from her interest in Lappish culture and to visit Santa Claus and also to watch the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

“Digital marketing, new flight connections as well as prolonged seasons are believed to bring more growth to Lapland tourism,” House of Lapland Managing Director Sanna Tarssanen told the local media recently.

In January-September this year, the number of overnight stays by tourists in Lapland has posted an 8.8 per cent increase year on year, compared to the overall increase for the whole country of just 1.9 percent, according to the Statistics Finland.

Overall, 2.36 million overnight stays were registered in Lapland in 2015.

There is room for the number of tourists to grow in Lapland. According to the data gathered by the House of Lapland and the Regional Council of Lapland, there are an estimated 100,000 accommodation spots in Lapland, of which a third are hotels. The rest are private cottage accommodations and Airbnb accommodation. In the near future, 20,000 more accommodation spots are expected to be available in Lapland.

“We must be able to take advantage of the digital marketing and new tools so that we may tell about Lapland tourism offerings, especially to the independent travellers. For example, the Chinese have been very interested in the Lapland summer,” Tarssanen said.

City Rovaniemi-FNN Report