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Published: 3 August 2009

Growth in tourism from abroad to Finland slowed down in 2008

All in all inbound tourism to Finland remained rather modest in 2008. Foreign travellers' overnight stays at Finnish accommodation establishments increased by good three per cent from the year before. The beginning of 2008 looked very promising as overnight stays increased by 10 per cent over the January to May period. Negative effects of the financial crisis began to show in the latter half of the year when a slight loss was recorded in the number of nights spent. Most of the increase continued to come from Russian and British visitors. Overnight stays by Russian visitors increased by 20 per cent and those of British visitors by 6 per cent. Growth in inbound tourism from EU countries remained at a marginal 0.4 per cent. The total number of nights spent by foreign visitors at accommodation establishments rose to 5.5 million. Of these 4.7 million were hotel nights. These data derive from Statistics Finland's Tourism Statistics 2009 publication.

Inbound tourism from several EU countries decreased as the total number of overnight stays remained close to the level of the year before at 3.1 million overnightings days. Growth figures from Portugal (10%), Lithuania (13%), Latvia (8%) as well as Denmark and the Czech Republic (6%) were still high. Overnight stays of German, Italian and Austrian tourists also showed slight growth of between one and three per cent.

Growth in tourism from Asia continued in line with to the year before with a 4 per cent rise in the number of overnight stays in 2008. Inbound tourism from Japan and China decreased but this fall was compensated for by the strong growth in tourism from India in recent years (29%). India is quickly catching up with China in inbound tourism to Finland. Tourism from the United States (-6%) and the entire American continent (-5%) decreased.

Finland's tourism receipts rose to EUR 2.2 billion

Finland's tourism receipts from abroad rose to EUR 2.2 billion in 2008. The receipts increased by 5 per cent from the year before. The growth in tourism receipts was mostly due to continued robust inbound tourism from Russia. Tourism receipts from Russia grew by one-fifth from the year before to EUR 658 million. The share of Russia of Finland's tourism receipts rose to 30 per cent. Besides those from Russia, Finland's tourism receipts were also considerable from Sweden (EUR 321 million), Germany (EUR 171 million) and Britain (EUR 125 million). The share of tourism receipts of total service exports amounted to some 12 per cent in 2008.

Growth in outbound tourism from Finland and the continuing popularity of long-distance destinations put Finland's outbound tourism expenditure to EUR 3.1 billion. Tourism expenditure grew by 5 per cent from the year before, which increased the deficit of Finland's tourism balance to nearly EUR 0.9 billion. The share of tourism expenditure of total service exports was close on one-fifth in 2008.

Overnight stays at accommodation establishments increased by 2 per cent

The total number of overnight stays at Finnish accommodation establishments rose to 19.5 million in 2008. The number of overnight stays grew by two per cent from the year before. The growth in domestic demand waned to two per cent from the previous year's four per cent. Just under three-fourths of overnight days, or 14 million, were overnight stays of domestic tourists.

Overnight stays at all accommodation establishments and hotels in 2008 and year-on-year changes

In 2008 the total number of overnightings at hotels was 15.6 million, of which 10.9 million were overnight stays of domestic tourists and the remaining 4.7 million were overnight stays of foreign tourists. Domestic tourists' overnight stays at hotels increased by close on two per cent, and those of foreign tourists by three per cent.

Turnover of accommodation activity grew

The slowing down of both domestic and foreign demand for accommodation services is visible as the marginal 0.2 percentage point growth of the hotel occupancy rate. In 2008 the hotel room occupancy rate stayed nearly at the level of the year before, at 53.3 per cent. The rise in the occupancy rate was held back by a 600 room increase in capacity. In Helsinki the supply of hotel rooms went up by five per cent. The slower growth in demand did not match the increase in capacity and the occupancy rate of hotel rooms in Helsinki fell by 1.6 percentage points from the year before to 68.8 per cent. The average room rate for the whole country rose by just under four per cent to EUR 88 in 2008. In Helsinki the average room rate remained almost unchanged at roughly EUR 108. According to preliminary data, due to the moderate growth in demand for accommodation services and risen prices, the turnover for hotel activities went up by around 6 per cent from the previous year to EUR 1.4 billion in 2008.

Source: Tourism Statistics. Statistics Finland

Contact information: Ms Ritva Marin +358 9 1734 2552, Ms Marjut Tuominen +358 9 1734 3556

Director in charge: Ms Hannele Orjala


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Last updated 3.8.2009

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Accommodation statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-6325. 2008. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 4.2.2023].
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