The summer of 2023 witnessed a resurgence of international leisure travel by Finns, nearly reaching the levels observed before the coronavirus pandemic. Between May and August, approximately 2.9 million overseas trips were taken, of which 2.6 million were overnight stays, while the remaining 0.3 million were day trips or cruises.
Travel to Estonia mirrored pre-pandemic levels, with the country receiving around 0.7 million Finnish leisure travelers from May to August.
Additionally, travel to neighboring Sweden saw a significant uptick.
"Interest in overseas travel surged during the summer of 2022 when travel restrictions were relaxed. By the summer of 2023, international travel grew even more, with many Finns venturing further into Europe," noted Marianne Laalo, Chief Statistician at the Statistics Centre.
Sunny Southern Europe was a major attraction, drawing one in every four international leisure trips by Finns. The region observed a 25% increase in visits compared to the previous summer.
Greece and Spain stood out as the most preferred destinations in the south. Travel to both nations exceeded the numbers from the summer before and even surpassed the summer of 2019. In total, around half a million trips were made to Greece and Spain during the summer of 2023.
Long-haul trips, those lasting over three nights, increased by over 20%, with package tours constituting nearly one-fifth of these journeys.
On the domestic front, however, there was a noticeable decline in travel. Overnight leisure trips within the country totaled 9.7 million from May to August, marking a consecutive annual drop. The number of domestic trips plummeted by 25% compared to the peak year of 2021, which recorded around 13 million overnight leisure trips.
The decline in domestic travel can be attributed to the dwindling numbers of visits to relatives and friends, as well as a drop in cottage stays. Overnight stays related to domestic leisure trips also saw a reduction.
"Cottage stays had already decreased in the summer of 2022, and in 2023, they dropped by another fifth from the previous year. However, the number of stays in hotels and rental cottages during May to August remained roughly on par with the previous summer," Laalo elaborated.