Foreign residents made a record-breaking 3.5 million overnight stays in Helsinki in 2015, despite a notable decline in the number of visitors from Russia.Last year was a record year for tourism in Helsinki, states Visit Helsinki.

Foreign residents made a record-breaking 3.5 million overnight visits to Helsinki in 2015, representing an increase of five per cent from the previous year despite a sharp drop in the number of visitors from Russia. Russian visitors have traditionally made up the largest nationality group of visitors to the capital of Finland but a 38 per cent drop in overnight stays saw them lose that status to visitors from Germany.

Overnight stays by visitors from Germany increased by 12, those by visitors from Sweden by 11, those by visitors from the United Kingdom by 8, those by visitors from Japan by 17 and those by visitors from China by 44 per cent year-on-year, according to the official portal for travel and tourism information.

The growth in overnight stays is partly attributable to the fact that two major international events were held in Helsinki in 2015: Gymnaestrada brought roughly 21,000 gymnasts and gymnastics enthusiasts to the city in July, while the IIHF World Junior Championship attracted a large crowd of ice hockey fans to the city in December.

Visit Helsinki points out that new records were set also in ferry and airline passengers. “Helsinki Airport served 16.4 million passengers in 2015 (+3%), while the Port of Helsinki served 11.2 million passengers (+2.5%). The number of international cruise visitors, in turn, increased to 437,000 (+4%),” it says in a press release.

More passengers thus travelled through the Port of Helsinki than the Ports of Stockholm – possibly for the first time in history, estimates Eeva Hietanen, the director of communication at the Port of Helsinki. “It has easily been ten years since anything like this has happened,” she tells Uusi Suomi.

Hietanen gauges that the growth in freight and passenger volumes is good news for the national economy. “It does seem like this gives us hope [of an economic recovery],” she says.

Last year was a record year also for container traffic at the Vuosaari Harbour largely due to the breakneck growth recorded in incoming traffic in the final quarter of the year. “It is particularly pleasing that the Vuosaari Harbour set a new record of 430,400 TEUs (7.5%) in container traffic,” a spokesperson for the Port of Helsinki states in a press release.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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