This summer, domestic tourists have also been heading to domestic destinations, as can be seen from the summer's accommodation statistics. Finns have rediscovered urban destinations and enjoyed events and culture alongside nature. The first summer after the corona pandemic shows that domestic tourism is no longer just about a boom.
The popularity of domestic travel destinations continues for the third summer in a row, according to the Statistics Finland's accommodation statistics*.
Regarding the early summer of 2022, excellent results were seen in overnight stays by domestic tourists, during the corresponding year of last year 2021. On average there was an increase of over 57 percent in May 2022 and 8 percent in June.
In July, overnight stays by domestic tourists were 16 percent less compared to the previous year. However, there were almost 9 percent increase in overnight stays compared the summer of 2019, which was the all-time record summer in domestic tourism before the corona pandemic. During the pandemic, the numbers of domestic overnight stays rose exceptionally high due to special circumstances, but domestic popularity was already on the rise in previous summers.
The figures for the summer of 2022 as a whole also exceed those of the summer of 2019. The number of domestic overnight stays in May–July 2022 was more than 8 percent higher than before the pandemic.
"This summer shows that domestic destinations are of interest to Finns alongside foreign destinations. From the figures of the past summer, it can be concluded that group of domestic travellers have permanently become bigger, even though foreign tourism opened up", says Maisa Häkkinen, president of Suoma ry.
Domestic tourists headed back to the cities
According to the answers of a survey** conducted by the 100 reasons to travel in Finland campaign, which promotes domestic tourism, show that Finns have invested in their travels in their country this summer especially on food (55%), scenery (54%) and experiences (48%).
During the past summer, events and culture have returned to Finns' holiday plans alongside nature destinations, which is reflected in the trend of tourism towards urban destinations. For example, in the capital region, domestic overnight stays increased by 11 percent compared to July of the previous year (Statistics Finland).
Alongside the urban destinations, however, nature destinations do not lose their popularity. According to the survey, the most expected from domestic tourism are nature experiences (73%), but also culture and events (55%), everyday luxury (50%) and personalized accommodation destinations (43%)
Boom turned into permanent enthusiasm
People vacationed in domestic destinations during the summer, despite the increased fuel costs. According to the survey's multiple-choice question, up to 86 percent of Finns traveled by car. 37 percent also chose the train and 25 percent a bus.
However, the effects of rising costs were not avoided – 58 percent say that the increase in fuel prices has affected summer trips in some way. For example, travel routes were planned more precisely (45%), holidays were taken in the nearby area (37%) and trains were chosen instead of cars (25%).
Tourism figures change along with the surrounding world, but the enthusiasm for domestic destinations has not subsided even after the corona restrictions.
"Domestic tourism is no longer just about a boom, but after this summer we can talk about permanent enthusiasm. In order to guarantee the vitality of the tourism industry, growth is also needed in the future," says Häkkinen.
Move of the summer holidays would increase the vitality of domestic destinations
Suoma ry, the association of Finnish tourism organizations that coordinates the 100 reasons to travel in Finland campaign, is pushing to move the school holiday season to the rhythm of the rest of Europe. The move would make August a full-fledged holiday month, and the services would be more comprehensively available than at present, even during the main holiday period for foreign tourists. In terms of Finland's competitiveness, it is important that a full range of services is available to foreign tourists in August as well.
"The successful summer season has continued promisingly into the middle of August, but this year, too, the start of school slowed down domestic tourism. Now, if ever, is the time to move the schools’ summer vacation two weeks forward," says Häkkinen.
Suoma ry has held extensive discussions on the matter with various stakeholders and will make a proposal to the Finnish government in 2023 about moving school vacation times. According to a consumer survey*** commissioned by Suoma ry, almost 40 percent of families with children consider the transfer a good thing and only 17 percent are not in favor of the transfer. 41 percent of the respondents could not yet determine their position.
Source: Suoma ry
* Finnish Statistics
** Suoma ry and 100 reasons to travel to Finland -survey was executed as a Surveypal-survey 19.–24.8.2022. In total there were 440 people from different parts of Finland who answered the survey.
*** 100 reasons to travel to Finland -survey, comissioned by Suoma ry, was executed as an online-survey in Bilendi Oy:'s M3 Panel 9.–21.4.2021. The focus group of the survey were people aged 18–75 and was answered by 100 Finns. The results were allocated to be nationally representative by quotas: sex, age and residential area.