copy the linklink copied!Finland

copy the linklink copied!Tourism in the economy

Tourism is recognised as an important growth sector and contributor to the Finnish economy. In 2017, tourism amounted to 2.6% of Finland’s GDP and tourism consumption reached EUR 15 billion. Tourism exports have grown steadily and amounted to 18% of service exports in 2017 – the third largest service export. Tourism industries directly employed 123 500 people in 2017, equivalent to 5.5% of total employment, and it is estimated that this will reach 164 000 by 2028. Around 28 500 tourism-related businesses, many of which are micro in size, recorded a turnover of EUR 9.7 billion.

International visitor numbers have doubled since 2000, and these spent EUR 4.6 billion in 2017 in Finland. In 2018, 5.6 million tourists visited Finland, up 12.4% over 2017, and nights in all means of accommodation reached 6.8 million (+1.5%). The Russian Federation continued to be the largest inbound market (826 000 nights), followed by Germany (628 000 nights) and the United Kingdom (593 000 nights), which replaced Sweden in third place. High growth markets include the Netherlands (up 8.4% on 2017), Spain (up 8.3%) and the United States (up 7.5%). Domestic leisure trips reached 38 million.

In 2018, accommodation establishments in Finland recorded over 22 million overnight stays, up 1.5% on the previous year, of which domestic tourists accounted for around 15.4 million and international tourists 6.8 million. In 2018, 8.7 million domestic tourists were recorded, up 1.5% over 2017.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism governance and funding

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for tourism policy. It takes part in drafting legislation on tourism, maintains international relations and works closely with other ministries. Visit Finland is tasked with promoting Finland as a tourist destination, and is responsible for promoting inbound tourism and helping Finnish travel companies to internationalise, develop and market high-quality travel products. It is part of Business Finland, an umbrella body responsible for promoting innovation funding, exports, investment and tourism.

An Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Tourism, chaired by Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, acts as a monitoring body for the implementation of tourism policy. It facilitates the effective exchange information on tourism and the preparation of tourism-related matters for decision-makers. It meets several times a year and includes the ministries of Transport and Communication, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, Foreign Affairs, and Education and Culture, together with organisations under the remit of the participating ministries. These include Business Finland, Visit Finland, Metsähallitus, a state-owned enterprise that plays a key role in the management of Finland’s physical environment and related outdoor and nature based tourism, Finnish National Agency for Education, Finnish Food Authority, and the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency.

A Working Group to discuss tourism statistical issues meets twice a year, chaired by Statistics Finland.

Collaboration with the private sector is facilitated through the Business Finland Tourism Advisory Board, which guides the work of Visit Finland and consists of industry leaders from different branches of tourism, and other tourism organisations and representative bodies. Private sector collaboration also takes place in regular bilateral meetings between the Ministry and trade and labour market organisations.

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Finland: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
Finland: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Source: OECD, adapted from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, 2020.

At regional level, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) provide financial, advisory, consulting and training services to tourism businesses, as part of their remit to promote regional competitiveness, well-being and sustainable development. Regional Councils also provide support for tourism development projects, general marketing, advisory services, training and research. There are also some 70 regional tourism organisations, which have varied objectives, tasks and ownership structures. Locally, tourism issues are handled by municipalities and local tourist information offices. The amount of funding provided by public sources varies from year to year. Visit Finland is funded from the State budget, receiving EUR 11.9 million in 2017. In 2018-19, the budget was increased to EUR 16 million in order to deliver the Tourism 4.0 Action Programme. In addition, in 2018 tourism-related projects received around EUR 25 million from Finland’s Structural Funds Programme 2014-20, and EUR 12.3 million from the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014-20.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism policies and programmes

Recognised trends affecting inbound tourism are sustainability and its impact on tourism and travel behaviour, digitalisation, new potential tourist markets as well as increased international interest in some of Finland’s key strengths: nature, security, cleanliness and authenticity. A major challenge faced by tourism in Finland is its price competitiveness, with high taxes and labour costs as contributing factors. Other challenges include seasonality, difficulties in finding skilled workers, connectivity issues and relatively few travel businesses to support tourism growth.

Under the new Tourism Strategy 2019-28 and Action Plan 2019-23, Achieving More Together - Sustainable Growth and Renewal in Finnish Tourism, Finland aims to double tourism exports and be the most sustainable destination in the Nordic region. The Strategy identifies four key priorities to promote growth and renewal in the sector: support activities that foster sustainable development, respond to digital change, improve accessibility, and ensure an operating environment that supports competitiveness. Co-operation with relevant stakeholders also plays a major role. A range of recent cross-cutting policy initiatives are aligned with the Strategy. The Finnish Food Policy, Food 2030, includes an objective to strengthen food tourism. Strategies to protect high value natural environments and resources, including the Strategy for the Arctic Region, the Baltic Sea Strategy, the updated National Forest Strategy 2025, and the new Maritime Policy Guidelines, closely align to the 2030 Agenda goals, embed sustainability as a core component, and seek to develop new market opportunities, such as nature tourism.

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The Digital tourism roadmap in Finland

In 2018, the Roadmap for Digitalisation of the Finnish Tourism Sector was developed, to steer the sector towards greater digital competence, such as the uptake of digital solutions and platforms and management with data. The goal is to create nation-wide digital ecosystems and to have Finnish travel products and services available in multiple digital channels locally and globally. The vision is to become a smart, pioneering destination that provides the best customer journey. The key steps to reach these are i) Data management and collaboration that enables a seamless purchase path and real time information for travellers, and ii) Multi channel online bookability by utilising platform economy and API’s. iii) Starting with pilots and scaling up to nation-wide ways of working iv) Supporting sustainable development of Finnish travel industry with digital tools. The Roadmap was developed with a team of industry and digital experts and is updated annually to keep up with the fast moving changes in the industry.

Pilot projects focusing on digital customer experience and data were carried out in four travel destinations. The pilots enabled tailored, cost effective development of digital know-how and services, specifically developing initiatives to help travellers find and get to hidden destinations like Turku and the archipelago, to handle scattered destination information (Lake Saimaa, Kuopio Tahko, North Karelia), to design the ideal digital customer journey (Visit Rovaniemi & Finnair) and to share and analyse data (Helsinki, House of Lapland, Finnair). In 2020, the focus is to scale up the work to national level, improving data driven tourism marketing and sales and deploying national travel data hub. There is also e-learning and Visit Finland academy digital training available to the travel trade. Based on the work undertaken, a digital inventory of tourism assets is the main priority to be developed in the future years.

The importance of tourism for the growth of Finland’s economy is recognised by the Finnish Government. Government support for tourism was strengthened with the allocation of additional funding support for the Tourism 4.0 Action Programme for period 2018-19. This initiative supported the implementation of the national tourism strategy, and aimed to continue recent growth with investment in marketing, enhancing digitalisation, measures to tackle seasonality, and steps to enhance the sustainability of tourism businesses. The latter goal is supported by the Sustainable Arctic Travel Destination programme implemented by Business Finland/Visit Finland. One of the principal measures is to create the Sustainable Travel Finland label for both businesses and destinations. The concept has three aims: to be a low threshold sustainable development tool for tourism destinations and businesses; a marketing communication tool for Visit Finland; and a label to identify sustainable travel businesses and destinations to both travel trade and consumers.

In January 2018, the Ministry launched a two-year programme Matkailudiili to ease the shortage of skilled workers in the tourism sector, with measures to improve awareness and perceptions of employment opportunities in tourism, strengthen co-operation between tourism actors, and pilot tourism employment projects (Box 1.14). A Roadmap for the Digitalisation of the Finnish Tourism Sector originally launched in 2018 sets out the vision to make Finland a smart, pioneering tourism destination that provides the best customer journey (see box).

copy the linklink copied!Statistical Profile

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Finland: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND

Domestic tourism

Total domestic trips

..

..

..

..

45 280

Overnight visitors (tourists)

28 850

29 160

29 790

30 160

29 130

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

16 160

Nights in all types of accommodation

78 838

78 890

80 730

80 460

78 360

Hotels and similar establishments

..

..

13 750

13 610

13 210

Other collective establishments

..

..

9 570

10 050

11 060

Private accommodation

..

..

57 390

56 790

54 070

Inbound tourism

Total international arrivals

..

..

..

..

..

Overnight visitors (tourists)

2 731

2 622

2 789

3 180

3 224

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Top markets

Russian Federation

615

352

307

382

378

Germany

248

266

268

297

304

United Kingdom

181

190

200

229

230

China

85

121

158

210

203

United States

93

95

108

126

139

Nights in all types of accommodation

5 710

5 510

5 771

6 743

6 843

Hotels and similar establishments

4 795

4 677

4 973

5 726

5 777

Other collective establishments

915

834

798

1 017

1 066

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Outbound tourism

Total international departures

9 780

10 020

10 280

10 480

10 480

Overnight visitors (tourists)

8 730

8 900

9 130

9 330

9 450

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

1 050

1 120

1 150

1 160

1 030

Top destinations

Sweden

1 830

1 630

1 830

1 680

1 790

Estonia

2 010

2 090

2 170

2 070

1 670

Spain

790

700

830

820

880

Germany

420

540

470

530

500

Russian Federation

310

310

390

340

300

TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION EUR

Inbound tourism

Total international receipts

4 115

3 614

3 628

4 593

4 883

International travel receipts

2 745

2 318

2 392

3 002

3 102

International passenger transport receipts

1 370

1 296

1 236

1 591

1 781

Outbound tourism

Total international expenditure

4 764

5 219

5 604

5 893

6 133

International travel expenditure

3 992

4 325

4 693

4 945

5 151

International passenger transport expenditure

772

894

911

948

982

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076704

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Finland: Enterprises and employment in tourism

Number of establishments

Number of persons employed

2017

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

..

..

..

..

..

..

Tourism industries

32 216

121 500

121 600

122 400

123 500 p

..

Accommodation services for visitors

..

..

..

..

..

..

Hotels and similar establishments

2 207

12 700

13 000

12 900

13 000 p

..

Food and beverage serving industry

12 238

59 400

60 700

63 000

64 100 p

..

Passenger transport

8 601

32 000

31 900

29 600

29 200 p

..

Air passenger transport

78

3 200

3 200

3 300

3 500 p

..

Railways passenger transport

62

4 400

3 900

2 400

2 300 p

..

Road passenger transport

8 267

21 500

21 000

21 000

20 500 p

..

Water passenger transport

194

2 900

2 800

2 900

2 900 p

..

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental

344

1 300

1 400

1 400

1 500 p

..

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

1 554

1 700

1 700

1 700

1 500 p

..

Cultural industry

3 460

5 200

5 100

5 000

5 200 p

..

Sports and recreation industry

3 812

9 200

8 800

8 800

9 000 p

..

Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other country-specific tourism industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

.. Not available; p Provisional data

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076723

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Finland: Internal tourism consumption
Million EUR

2016

Domestic tourism expenditure

Inbound tourism expenditure

Internal tourism consumption

Total

8 092

3 599

13 979

Consumption products

7 878

3 528

13 694

Tourism characteristic products

4 803

2 573

9 359

Accommodation services for visitors

742

436

1 993

Food and beverage serving services

1 505

591

2 096

Passenger transport services

1 709

1 253

4 012

Air passenger transport services

663

991

2 410

Railways passenger transport services

172

22

267

Road passenger transport services

547

146

911

Water passenger transport services

327

94

424

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental services

76

19

97

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

367

0

482

Cultural services

185

94

279

Sports and recreation services

221

180

401

Country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

Country-specific tourism characteristic services

..

..

..

Other consumption products

3 074

955

4 335

Tourism connected products

1 279

122

1 707

Non-tourism related consumption products

1 795

833

2 628

Non-consumption products

214

71

285

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076742

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