The Finnish tourist authority, Visit Finland, has highlighted an increase in global and UAE visitor numbers as the government entity makes its debut on the exhibition floor at Arabian Travel Market.
Debuting at the show for the first time with a new marketing campaign aimed at Middle East tourists, the organisation hopes its efforts will contribute to a record year for tourism numbers.
Speaking at a press conference during Arabian Travel Market, Visit Finland representative, Teemu Ahola commented: “Last year was another excellent year for the Finnish tourism industry with nearly 22 million visitors, growth of seven per cent over the 2016 figures when tourists topped 20.3 million.
“However, we have already seen an increase in 2018 visitors of 3.1 per cent compared to this time last year, so we are confident our tourism numbers, and receipts, will eclipse the successes of 2017.”
The increase in UAE visitors, explained Ahola, is in part due to an increase in direct flights to the Finnish capital, Helsinki.
Finnair, the national carrier of Finland has committed to repeating its Dubai to Helsinki route later this year, flying between October 2018 and March 2019, while Turkish Airlines has a route between the UAE and Finland via Istanbul.
flydubai is also set to launch a new route which will increase capacity still further during the winter months.
Finland has long been a popular destination within the European market, however Visit Finland is now keen to explore other markets and have identified the Middle East where the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, already make up the bulk of GCC visitors.
“After a positive response from ATM last year, where we took the opportunity to garner a better understanding of the region and research the potential outbound markets, we have returned with a dedicated marketing campaign for the Middle East and we’re showcasing some of the leading hotels, resorts and DMCs Finland has to offer in a bid to pique the interest of the market even further,” added Ahola.
Known as the home of a thousand lakes, Finland is renowned for its vast green forests, long coastline, and one of the world’s largest archipelagos.
During the summer months golf, food foraging, canoeing and sailing are very popular, when the season changes to autumn, hiking, climbing and wildlife watching become part of the draw.
In winter, husky and reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobile safaris, ice driving experiences, the Northern Lights, ice-breaker cruises and of course, meeting Santa Claus are always popular attractions for tourists every year.