24 November 2009
An increasing number of incentive trips are being taken in Lapland even though the recession will have a considerable impact on the Christmas travel to Lapland this year. The largest tour operators believe that Christmas travel will recover in 2010.
There are already signs of improvement in corporate incentive travel, i.e., intensive travel. Tour operators in Great Britain believe that air travel will increase in December 2010.
“The most important outbound market for Lapland internationally is Great Britain. Visitors during the Christmas season in particular have traditionally come from there,” says Thomas Kingelin, Finavia’s Sales Director.
Finavia estimates that international charter flights this December will total about 400, a drop of one quarter compared to last year. In addition, foreign passengers arrive in Lapland via Helsinki on flights with Finnair, Finncomm and Blue1.
“Charter bookings by foreign tour operators have been made and currently a lot of marketing is being carried out in various markets to maximise aircraft occupancy rates,” says Kingelin.
Kingelin envisages that the opportunities for tourism to Lapland lie in growing new markets, especially in Central Europe and Russia. In addition, extending Lapland’s winter product season to several months would bring more foreign passengers.
“The biggest growth potential for Lapland's tourism industry is in foreign passengers, not forgetting, of course, Finnish travellers.
Lapland’s tourist infrastructure, including the airports, will create opportunities for tourism throughout the year.
“Tourism in Lapland is currently seasonal in nature, mainly focused on the winter season. Efforts are being made to increase Lapland’s visibility, especially in Central and Southern Europe. Finavia’s marketing aims at getting more direct flight connections from Europe to Lapland and year-round accessibility through direct scheduled flights via Helsinki,” says Kingelin.