A number of disparate stores, including gift shops, food outlets, and restaurants have been set up in the Santa Claus Village and adjoining area facilitating tourists to enjoy the unique Lappish nature and events more smoothly.
“The main things, which will attract tourists, are unique Lappish experiences and nature. The most popular experiences right now are meeting Santa Claus, crossing the Arctic Circle, seeing reindeer and huskies. We have more than half million visitors every year in our village. So, it is also important that our basic services like shops and restaurants will fulfil customer needs” said Antti Nikander, Head of Development, Santa Claus Village Cooperative told.
Nikander said there are altogether 50 companies working in the area. The focus is taking care of Santa Claus Christmas brand, Lappish traditions and clean nature. All the businesses will be planned and done linked to those themes.
“The shops and restaurants are important basic services. Visitors want to taste local Lappish cuisine, hear and see old traditions. They also want to do some shopping and buy original Lappish souvenirs,” Nikander added.
Although there are souvenir shops, coffee places, and food joints in the Santa Claus Village, the number of accommodation facilities has increased significantly in the area in recent years, resulting in establishment of more restaurants this year.
As recently as in early November, Santa’s Chocolate and Magical Candy Store, a 100-seat family restaurant and Mother Christmas’ House opened in the area.
Santa’s Chocolate and Candy Store has been set up by Mari and Juha Kotaniemi, where the vision was realised by artist Kimmo Takarautio who has crafted Äkälompolo’s most photographed landmark, the world’s largest reindeer statue in front of the famous Sampo Kaulanen’s Jouni’s store, among other things.
The Kotaniemi couple has also opened a new shop by their luxury boutique Balmuir to especially cater to their Asian clientele. The luxury boutique offers items made only in Finland: Lumene cosmetics made of pure Nordic nature’s berries and unique hand-crafted Gemmi furs. Gemmi’s youthful and trendy street fashion has found a great demand in Asia.
Santa’s Pizza and Burger opened next to the candy store and will surely be in busy use in the upcoming season. The restaurant is also licensed bar for thirsty travellers.
Tourism in Rovaniemi has grown centring to the Santa Claus Village and the Arctic Circle to which thousands of people from home and abroad visit every season.
In addition to souvenir shops, there is the Santa’s Main Post Office and Santa is available in his home every day.
Visitors can experience crossing the Arctic Circle and collect its certificate from the Arctic Circle Information Office.
The Santa Claus Village is eight km north of Rovaniemi, the heart of Lapland. You can get there with the bus numer 8 from the city centre: https://www.linkkari.fi/In-English/Routes-and-timetables.
City of Rovaniemi - Daily Finland Report