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A night sky illuminated by the northern lights in Inari, Finnish Lapland, on December 25, 2017.
A night sky illuminated by the northern lights in Inari, Finnish Lapland, on December 25, 2017.

 

The photography boom created by social media is supporting tourism growth in Finnish Lapland, writes Talouselämä.

The modern-day traveller is prepared to travel to far-off destinations specifically in order to take a photo or selfie against a stunning backdrop, such as a sky illuminated by northern lights, indicate data collected by House of Lapland, the official marketing and communications agency for Finnish Lapland.

Those most determined to witness the natural phenomenon are not discouraged even by the fact that a single night in a snow igloo may cost up to 600 euros.

“The igloos are a way for travellers to experience something new,” explains Kristiina Kylmälahti, the owner and managing director of Levin Igloos. “Many of [the visitors] are demanding tourists who have visited many different places around the world.”

She reveals that she spends most of the advertising budget on social media and receives enquiries from travel bloggers about co-operation possibilities on a daily basis.

Finnish Lapland’s growing appeal to people around the world is evident also in the number of charter and scheduled flights to the region: A record-breaking 650 charter flights are to touch down at the region’s airports this winter. Finnair, similarly, will operate 52 direct flights a week from Helsinki Airport to Lapland between December and March.

The state-owned airline has already announced its plan to raise the capacity by an additional 15 per cent for the winter season of 2018–2019.

“Charter flights bring masses for the Christmas, whereas direct scheduled flights from abroad serve the growing number of independent travellers,” summarises Anna Häkkinen, the acting managing director of House of Lapland.

If the flow of tourists to the region continued to grow at last year’s pace, the number of overnight stays would surge to ten million over the next ten years. Last year, a total of 2.7 million overnight stays were recorded in Finnish Lapland.

Päivikki Palosaari, the founder and managing director of Hullu Poro, for one is confident that the breakneck growth will continue.

“It is the customers who have made the northern lights into such a big business,” she reminds. “If someone posts a single great photo of the northern lights on social media, the photo may suddenly have a million views. A single photo can help us sell out for the whole season.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Irene Stachon – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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