Tourist inflow to Lapland rising again: 500 charter flights in winter

FinnTribune report: Around 500 charter flights are expected to land this winter in Lapland airports including the Santa’s official airport in Rovaniemi in the wake of an increased tourist inflow.

With the Christmas season looming ahead, the tourism industry in Lapland is now bracing itself for a robust winter.

The number of tourists already has started to increase by this time. Most of the Rovaniemi bound flights from Helsinki are found fully occupied by passengers on Friday, eye witness said.

According to Finavia, the number of tourists coming to Lapland is again on the rise after 2009. In 2008, five hundred charter flights arrived in Lapland. But in the last few years the number had stayed below 400.

According to Finavia sources, more than 400 charter flights have already confirmed their bookings. So Lapland airports are eagerly waiting for the busiest winter in years in terms of charter traffic.

In a press release, Finavia Regional Manager Martti Oinas said the traffic volume in early winter is expected to be higher than in previous years. In terms of bookings, Finavia expects the charter traffic at Lapland airports to see a slight increase, with Rovaniemi showing the most significant rise.

He said, now that the attractiveness of northern regions has increased, the region’s tourism agencies need to strengthen the positive trend and develop the magical Lapland into an even more enticing place.

In recent years, the Visit Finland campaign of Finland Tourism Board, the Lapland Above Ordinary campaign of Lapland Regional Authority, and the independent promotional initiative Visit Lapland, among others, have made a significant contribution to the overall branding of Lapland as a unique destination for international tourists. Rovaniemi as a gateway to Lapland and home town of Santa Claus has also got heightened attention from Asian tourists in recent times.

The Visit Finland campaign and Finnair also launched a special campaign for a 100-day polar night expedition that has received around 4,000 applications over the last few months. According to the press, five candidates from five different countries – Japan, China, South Korea, Germany and England – were chosen last week to experience the unique polar night adventure in Lapland starting from December 6.

Finnair has introduced new destinations in Asia, which also has attracted more tourists from Asian countries including China and Japan. Finnair has its flights in most popular destinations in Lapland including Santa’s official airport Rovaniemi, Kittilä, Ivalo, Kemi, and Kuusamo.

The first charter flight of this winter season arrived in Enontekiö last Friday from England. In Rovaniemi, the first charter flight is scheduled to arrive next week from London. Kittilä and Ivalo are also expected to receive charter flights this week from Germany and the Netherlands.

In Rovaniemi, travel companies and tour operators expect that the Christmas season is going to be very busy as most of the incoming tourists have already booked their trips. Most of the hotels are already fully booked for the winter season.