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The President’s Internationalisation Award for the City of Rovaniemi and Visit Rovaniemi: “Tourism is our success story”

11/15/2016 2:26 PM

The City of Rovaniemi and Visit Rovaniemi have won the President’s Internationalisation Award for their long-term cooperation.

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The Visit Rovaniemi tourism marketing organisation has increased the attractiveness and profile of the Rovaniemi region throughout the world. The number of Asian tourists in particular is growing rapidly. The latest achievement is Visit Rovaniemi’s cooperation with Alitrip, one of China’s largest tourism service providers.

President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö presented the Internationalisation Award to Esko Lotvonen, Mayor of the City of Rovaniemi, and Sanna Kärkkäinen, Managing Director of Visit Rovaniemi, at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday 15 November.

– We are very touched by this award – it feels great in so many ways. This award is a recognition of cooperation between the public and private sectors. We stand behind our product and story 100%. Tourism has been a success story for us, despite the challenging economic situation in general, Kärkkäinen said.

– This is a wonderful recognition of the companies, public officials and decision-makers that have patiently built up tourism in Rovaniemi. I am sure that everybody who has participated in such work over the last few decades is delighted by and proud of this award,” Lotvonen continued.

The City of Rovaniemi owns 51 per cent and enterprises 49 per cent of Visit Rovaniemi, with a total of 170 enterprises participating in its joint marketing activities. The number of member organisations has gradually grown during Visit Rovaniemi’s 10-year history.

In terms of bed nights spent by international tourists, Rovaniemi is Finland's second most popular destination after Helsinki. In addition to Santa Claus, tourists are attracted by the clean Arctic nature and the Northern Lights. According to Mayor Lotvonen, other factors behind the growth in tourism include Rovaniemi’s high accessibility and safety.

– We have succeeded in focusing on the right and genuine pull factors. The Rovaniemi region has developed tourism in a bold and innovative manner, and we also have very good entrepreneurs in our city. We have had the courage to go and meet the leaders of different cities and countries and have also managed to attract them to visit Rovaniemi. Furthermore, we have made good use of the social media, Lotvonen said.

– The core of internationalisation crystallises in Rovaniemi. This is a place people want to travel to. We have been organising meetings with Santa Claus for almost 30 years – it is part of Finland's heritage, Kärkkäinen said.

The selection criteria for the President’s Internationalisation Award include success on the international markets, profitable growth, the development of Finnish expertise, and responsible operations.