Europe Sun & Beach 21 October 2016
The Russians returned to winter Finland
As of the end of September, the Finnish consulate in Moscow has received 23% fewer visa applications compared to the same period last year. "But the number of tourists was, of course, more, because many Russians have multiple entry visas previously issued, including a two-year. I think by the end of 2016 the number of issued visas will be at the level of last year", - told RATA-news the director of the visa department of the Embassy of Finland in Russia Harri Heikkinen at the annual workshop "Winter Finland: Area of paradise for body and soul". At the workshops, organized jointly by the Embassy and VisitFinland, came the representatives of the Finnish tourist industry: incoming companies, hoteliers, regional tourism offices, cruise operators, national parks, ski resorts, recreation centers and spa-centers. According to the consultant of the Moscow office FinPro Renata Akzhigitova, if in 2015 the country was visited by 181.3 thousand Russian tourists, for the first seven months of this year up to 173.6 thousand came already. That is a little less than last year's number. Most of them rested at the winter resorts of the country. She added, that VisitFinland continues FinRelax marketing campaign in the season 2016/2017 years. The project involves more than 50 Finnish spa-resorts, spa-hotels and recreation centers. Marina Eskelinen, “Futurist” company: "Winter is already actively asked and it sells much better than a year ago, an increase is of 30-40%. But the summer months did not show growth. Before the crisis, our key clients were families with children, also the tourist groups, businessmen had come. Now the family tourism is completely gone, mainly the business tourists come. Russians are now asking only the luxury and budget accommodation and the demand for mid-priced segment of the hotels actually come to nothing". Olga Nieminen, office Ruka and Pyhä: "In winter, 65% of our customers are Finns. But the Russian market, despite the crisis, remains on the first line. The second and third places are occupied by the British and Dutch. Last winter the Russian segment showed decrease of about 30% compared to the previous season. But this autumn, the clients from Russia are very active, the sales of the high winter season are better than a year ago. We expect the growth at the end of the season”. Vigen Ogannisyan, the company “Easy Travel”: “The budget tourists are almost gone due to the crisis, they now more likely book their trips by themselves”. Alexandra Ushanova, the “Tallink & Silja Line” company: “Cruises sales are good, even with an increase of volumes in the online segment, where the most tourists book themselves. As elsewhere in tourism, on the cruise market the booking pattern has dropped”. Christina Sprude, the “Flavours of Kuusamo Lapland” company: “The number of tourists from Russia in Kuusamo region has become less than it was two years ago, when they came by charters. It was a significant part of the Russian tourist flow. Now the Russians more likely arrive by car. The family vacationers were much less. The place of Russians took British, Spanish, Dutch. But the Russians are booking now, as a rule, they are not organized tourists”. Anna Kuusalo, Lahti Region office: "Shopping trips and holidays in the cottages are in demand in Lahti. In winter - skiing, snowmobiling, in summer - fishing, mushrooms and berries. In the midst of the crisis the Russians almost ceased to come to us. This year, the dynamic of sales is positive, the region has become again in demand among the Russian tourists. Russia still remains one of the largest markets in Lahti”. To save money, the tourists often come by buses from St. Petersburg. A VIP customers, ordering expensive cottages, always make it through the tour operators".