This winter is expected to bring another influx of foreign visitors to Finnish Lapland, reports Talouselämä.
Finnair, for example, will offer almost 20 per cent more direct flights from Helsinki to Lapland between December and March than in the winter season of 2016–2017 mainly due to growing demand from China, reveals Päivyt Tallqvist, the head of media relations at Finnair.
“Lapland was last winter’s top destination for the Chinese. It was more popular than Paris and Rome, which are traditionally their favourite destinations. We forecast more of the same for this winter,” she said to the business-oriented newspaper on Saturday.
The state-owned airline will operate 52 direct flights to Lapland a week and increase the number of flights by an additional 15 per cent for the winter season of 2018–2019. The growing number of services will have no impact on flight fares, according to Tallqvist.
Lufthansa has similarly announced it will begin operations on a route between Frankfurt and Kuusamo, North Ostrobothnia.
A notable, 20 per cent increase has also been recorded in reservations for charter flight to Lapland in December, says Joni Sundelin, a director at Finavia, a state-owned operator of 21 airports in Finland. He adds that the plan is to continue to increase services to the region but refrains from offering an estimate of the extent to which it is possible before the airports reach full capacity.
Both Kittilä Airport and Rovaniemi Airport have already introduced self-service check-in machines in a bid to cope with the high volume of passengers.
Rauno Kurtti, a project manager at the Regional Council of Lapland, says there would be a need for additional services especially to Ivalo, Kuusamo and Kemi-Tornio. Services to Kittilä and Rovaniemi, in turn, should be increased outside the winter holiday season, according to Kurtti.
Talouselämä writes that all of the experts agree on the necessity to extend the winter travel season in Lapland.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi