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An unprecedented year of tourism ahead - Finns are now traveling in Finland more than ever

Published June 21st, 2022

Already in April 2022, records were broken in Finland, when the number of bed nights was higher than ever before at that time - thanks to domestic tourists. According to survey data, there were even more people who made domestic trips in May than in April, and in June the willingness to travel is at its peak.

This article introduces various tourism statistics and examines the willingness of Finns to travel - so a little glance of what the coming summer will look like. Note: Estimates assume that the sharp rise in fuel prices will not change the travel behavior of Finns.

In April 2022, the number of bed nights in Finland reached a historic height. The previous record was from 2019, as the growth curve had been on an upward trend for several years. In 2020 and 2021, the number of tourists in Finland was significantly lower than in previous years, but in the beginning of 2022 the number of bed nights has risen rapidly towards the level of 2019 and even exceeded it in April. The development in the number of bed nights is due to a sharp increase in domestic tourism. As many as 86 per cent of the bed nights registered in April 2022 were made by domestic tourists, while only 77 per cent of the registered bed nights in the comparison year 2019 were by Finnish tourists.

Let's take a closer look at the trend of registered bed nights. In April 2022, the number of domestic overnight stays did not change much from March 2022, which is exceptional when compared to the time before the pandemic. If the TAK Domestic Tourism survey is taken into account, about three out of five Finns made trips during the last 30 days in April-June (the first two weeks of June), while less than half of the total population made trips in March. Airbnb + Vrbo's booking data also showed growth already in May, especially in Tampere and Helsinki. In June, the number of reservations increased by up to around 15 per cent in those cities compared to May. The booking situation in July is still developing, but the booking situation for the first weekend is already exceptionally good.

In April 2022, the share of trips abroad also increased significantly, according to the TAK Domestic Tourism Survey. In April, almost every tenth of all trips made by Finns were taken abroad, while in March the share was half as small. In other words, in April, Finnish tourists dismantled their pent-up travel excitement by traveling exceptionally much both in Finland and abroad. However, those who travelled abroad did not eat up the tourism potential of domestic travel, as the share of those who travelled increased during April-May and in early June among the entire population. This makes monitoring tourism trends now particularly interesting, as trends cannot be expected to recover back to the time before the pandemic.

The willingness of Finns to travel also seems to increase systematically towards the summer, when in April and May about half of Finns planned to travel in Finland in the next 30 days and in June (during the first two weeks) up to three out of five said they would travel in Finland in the next 30 days. The share of the population going abroad has also increased from April to June, although the development is more moderate than that of those traveling domestically.

Up-to-date tourist information is now also provided by daily / monthly movement data (based on mobile operator data). Movement data includes the total number of day visitors and overnight stays in the area. Ask for more information on movement data at info@visitory.io


Domestic travellers in Sweden and Finland during the pandemic – how do they differ?

Published April 27th, 2022

As the corona pandemic hit the Nordic countries in the mid-March 2020, domestic tourism played an important role in the tourism economy in both Finland and Sweden. During April-December 2020 the share of domestic bed nights was up to 91 per cent in Sweden and 93 per cent in Finland. Let’s take a closer look to these domestic travellers. How did they travel?

On their domestic trips Finns travelled more typically by public transport than Swedes. 23 per cent of Finnish domestic trips were made by train or by bus, while 13 per cent of the Swedish domestic trips were made by train or by bus. A car was by far the most used transport as 79 per cent of Finns and 89 per cent of Swedes travelled by car on their domestic trips.

Differences in ways of travel for Swedish and Finnish domestic trips

Finns travelled for work a little less than Swedes. Eight per cent of Finnish domestic trips were business trips, while 11 per cent of Swedish domestic trips were business trips. Finns and Swedes travelled to meet friends or relatives equally often, more than a third (37%) of domestic trips of both nations were visits to friends or relatives. In Sweden over half (56%) of these travellers also stayed over at friends or relatives and 21 per cent stayed over at their own or lent cottages. In Finland 72 per cent stayed over at their friends or relatives and 19 per cent stayed over at a hotel or hostel.

Swedish people spent on average 3,5 nights on their domestic trips while Finnish people spent on average 4,2 nights on their domestic trips (daytrips excluded).

The three most visited counties in Sweden were Västra Götaland County (16%), Stockholm County (13%) and Skåne County (12%). The three most visited provinces in Finland were Uusimaa (19%), Pirkanmaa (12%) and Finland Proper (10%). Swedes made trips abroad more typically (6% of all trips) than Finns (1%) during the corona pandemic in 2020. Trips between and inside provinces (in Finland) and counties (in Sweden) are visualized below.

Share of domestic trips between or inside provinces/counties (TOP THREE)

Finland Sweden
Inside Uusimaa (13%) Inside Västra Götaland County (11%)
From Uusimaa to Pirkanmaa (9%) Inside Skåne County (8%)
From Uusimaa to Finland Proper (7%) Inside Stockholm County (7%)

Swedish data includes weekly trips, if they are made for free-time purposes (such as trips to one’s own cottage). These are not included in the Finnish data. Otherwise the results are comparable.

More about Swedish and Finnish travellers in 2021 coming up soon. For more information, contact info@visitory.io


Tourism in the Nordic countries is recovering from the pandemic

Published February 15th, 2022

Year 2021 was better for tourism in the Nordics than the year 2020. The number of registered bed nights increased in all Nordic countries in 2021 compared to previous year.

Even though tourism improved from the first year of the pandemic in the Nordic countries, the level of 2019 was not yet reached. In Iceland the number of bed nights was 39 per cent lower in 2021 than in 2019 while in Denmark the number of bed nights was only 8 per cent lower in 2021 than in 2019.

Iceland, Sweden and Denmark managed to attract more foreign tourists in 2021 than in 2020. Norway reached the gap between 2020 and 2021 during the last two months and gathered the same amount of foreign bed nights as the year earlier. Finland had less foreign bed nights than previous year, which is mainly due to the lack of Russian tourists and the fact that the foreign season in Finland focused heavily on December-February alongside July-August. There were up to 92 per cent less foreign bed nights in December-February 2021 than the year earlier. Nevertheless, the amount of foreign bed nights in Finland nearly doubled during November-December 2021. The amount of British tourists increased from 40 000 (in January-October 2021) to 260 000 by the end of the year. Read more about tourism in Finland here.

The largest share of foreign bed nights was recorded in Iceland (60 %) in 2021. The last two months changed the course of foreign tourism in Denmark and Norway as in the end, both countries recorded more foreign bed nights than year earlier. Get familiar with tourism in Norway here.

Registered foreign bed nights 2021

During January-March 2021, the loss in foreign bed nights was smallest in Sweden, when there were 70 per cent fewer foreign bed nights recorded in comparison to previous year. Meanwhile, the change was greatest In Iceland, when there were up to 96 per cent fewer foreign bed nights compared to previous year.

In Iceland, foreign bed nights increased more than tenfold in September-December 2021 compared to previous year.

During summer (July-August) 2021, foreign bed nights increased the most in Sweden (152 %) and the least in Denmark (0 %). In Sweden the number of foreign bed nights increased as much in July-August as in November-December. Read more about tourism in Sweden here.

Registered domestic bed nights 2021

The largest share of domestic bed nights was in Finland (88%) in 2021. The change in domestic bed nights was highest in Iceland and lowest in Sweden compared to previous year.

Explore monthly bed nights in Finland, Sweden and Norway here.

Read more about Nordic travel trends from the Online Media Visibility of Nordic Visit Organizations -report by Visitory. Report includes comparison of Instagram statistics and Google searches by Nordic DMO. Download the report to see who had a winner Instagram strategy and which Nordic DMO was most searched on Google.


The second year of the pandemic held many success stories

Published December 9th, 2021

The year 2021 has so far shown that the pandemic is weakening its grip on the tourism industry in Finland, with registered accommodation sales growing by 8 per cent across the country during January-October. Of the provinces, accommodation sales were lower only in Lapland from the previous year, due to the decrease from spring 2020, before the pandemic. In terms of accommodation sales, the year 2019 was still unachieved, at least for January-October. The figures were the closest from 2019 in Northern Ostrobothnia, where accommodation sales in January-October 2021 were only one per cent less than in January-October 2019. Examined by municipality, accommodation sales increased the most in Heinola, Pudasjärvi and Pelkosenniemi, compared to both year 2020 and 2019.

Increase in registered accommodation sales in January-October 2021 compared to January-Octover 2020 by municipality

Arrivals at registered accommodation establishments increased by 13 per cent in Finland during January-October compared with the previous year. Of the provinces, only Lapland and South Karelia were slightly behind from the previous year's figures, due to the lack of Russian and other international tourists from the peak season at the beginning of the year. In Lapland, accommodation sales in December-February 2021 were as much as 78 per cent lower than in the previous year. Russian bed nights, on the other hand, covered 36 percent of all registered bed nights in South Karelia in December-February 2020, with the share dropping to zero during December-February 2021. Compared to January-October 2019, only one of the provinces reached more tourists arrivals to registered accommodation in 2021 - congratulations to South Savo!

Increase in the registered arrivals to accommodation in January-October 2021 compared to January-October 2020 by municipality

In the case of domestic arrivals to accommodation, the figures appear to be particularly positive. Among all the provinces, the number of domestic arrivals increased the most in Lapland, by as much as 34 per cent from the previous year. Lapland also reached more domestic tourists than in 2019. South Savo and Lapland seemed to have reached domestic tourists best compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Increase in domestic registered arrivals to accommodation in January-Ocgtober 2021 compared to January-October 2020 by municipality


If the development of corona cases continues at its current level, the domestic tourism summer will become a record

Published May 28th, 2021

In the travel agency industry, the drop is the largest

Of the tourism-earning industries, the least affected by the corona pandemic is retail, which, after a small slump at the beginning of the pandemic, has continued to grow relatively steadily throughout the pandemic. Looking at corporate VAT settlements, the travel agency sector, which was growing strongly before the pandemic, has been the hardest hit by the pandemic. While in the early 2020s, sales in the travel agency industry grew by more than 20 percent, after the pandemic began, sales fell by more than 50 percent from a year ago.

In the accommodation and leisure industries, the percentage decline in turnover at the beginning of the pandemic was at the same level as in the travel agency sector, but the decline did not continue as strongly throughout the rest of the year. However, this analysis does not take into account the changes in air traffic turnover, as international air transport is not subject to VAT. Finnair's passenger traffic revenues in 2020 fell by almost 79 per cent from the previous year.

Year - on - year change in VAT charged

The number of foreign flights and arrivals at accommodation establishments fell at the same pace as the pandemic began

The number of passengers on international flights decreased by 99 per cent and the number of foreigners arriving at registered accommodation establishments decreased by 98 per cent in April 2020 from a year ago. The number of domestic overnight stays in accommodation establishments decreased by “only” 91 per cent in April, and in July the number of domestic tourists even increased slightly in Finland, when people could not travel abroad. However, the value of accommodation sales in registered accommodation establishments also decreased in July by about 20 per cent due to a decrease in foreign tourists, lower average prices and shorter delays.

Only in unregistered housing and cottage rentals did sales increase after the onset of the interest rate pandemic. The popularity of unregistered accommodation during a pandemic is explained by the safety-consciousness of tourists. In a private apartment or rental cottage, the risk of infection from other travelers is lower than in registered accommodation establishments. In unregistered accommodation, the decline in domestic tourism also began to show in December 2020 as a decline in accommodation sales.

Changes in the number of air passengers and passengers arriving at accommodation establishments and in the sale of unregistered accommodation compared to the previous year

If the current trend continues in the development of the number of cases of the disease, the domestic tourism summer will become a record

Willingness to travel during the corona pandemic has been investigated in our Domestic Tourism study with the help of the following statements:

  • I don't want to travel domestic because of the covid-19
  • I don't want to travel abroad because of the covid-19

Based on the responses, an index has been calculated that tells whether there are more people who want to travel than those who do not want to travel (positive index) or vice versa (negative index). Interviews are conducted 250 times a week, allowing the willingness to travel to be monitored in real time.

Willingness to travel during a corona pandemic and the number of corona cases per week

Figure shows how the index of willingness to travel in the home country turned negative in week 36, when the number of cases exceeded 200 cases per week for the first time. The willingness to travel abroad index has remained negative throughout the pandemic. Domestic willingness to travel correlates very strongly (-0.845) with the number of cases. The willingness to travel abroad also correlates, although not as strongly (-0.537) with the number of cases of the disease.

In May, the number of cases of the disease has still been more than 1,000 per week, but if the trend continues in line with last week, less than 200 cases a week will be reached before midsummer. This is likely to accelerate to new record highs in the domestic tourist summer in terms of domestic tourist numbers.


The Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism

Published April 28th, 2021

Registered overnight stays decreased by 38 percent in Finland from 2019

By region, the largest losers were Uusimaa and Åland, where overnight stays decreased by about 60 % from 2019. The largest loser among cities was Helsinki, where overnight stays decreased by 64 %.

The Covid-19 pandemic only started to affect tourism in March 2020, so the changes should be considered from the beginning of April. In April to December, overnight stays decreased by 45 per cent in Finland, 61 per cent in Åland, 71 per cent in Uusimaa and 76 per cent in Helsinki from a year ago.

But not everywhere went as badly. There were some areas in Finland where tourist overnight stays increased from 2019. The number of overnight stays in the regions of Turunmaa and Ylivieska and in the municipalities of Ähtäri, Kemiönsaari, Mäntyharju, Parainen, Pudasjärvi, Lieksa, Salla and Hanko increased compared to a year ago. In these areas, there are few foreign tourists and, on the other hand, the destinations are small and safe areas during the Covid-19 pandemic.

covid-19 effect on traveling

Finland vs. Sweden

What happened to our beloved neighboring country, Sweden, which was ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic much worse than Finland?

In Sweden, the number of overnight stays in 2020 decreased by 35 per cent year-on-year and in April-December the drop was 41 per cent. So less than in Finland - how can this be possible?

Overnight stays by foreign tourists decreased more in Sweden than in Finland. In Sweden, the drop was 70 per cent, while in Finland “only” 68 per cent. Domestic overnight stays in Sweden also decreased, but not quite as much as in Finland. Swedes stayed in accommodation establishments in their home country 24 per cent less than in 2019, while Finns spent 25 per cent less in their home country. While the share of domestic overnight stays in Sweden is higher (74 % in 2019) than in Finland (69 %), the absence of foreign tourists does not cause the same drop in Sweden as in Finland. Therefore, more investments in domestic tourism is needed!

Tourist Surveys 2020

In June 2020, we launched the Domestic Tourism Survey, which surveys Finns over the age of 15 on a weekly basis about their domestic trips during the past month. We are currently summarizing the June-January data (n=8090). In the report, we also look at foreign tourists in the regions based on the TAK Border Survey data (n=8544) from 2020. With regard to foreign tourists, it should be noted that there will not be only negative things to report :)