The coronavirus pandemic was a severe blow to the Finnish tourism sector in 2020.
Domestic and foreign tourists spent 9.3 billion euros in Finland in 2020, which represents a fall of 42% from the amount spent in 2019, which was 16.1 billion euros. In other words, the coronavirus pandemic reduced the spending by tourists in Finland by nearly 7 billion euros, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
The figures on Finland’s economic development from last year make this decline apparent: Finland’s gross domestic product is estimated to have fallen by 3% in 2020.
These are the conclusions of preliminary estimates on tourism demand in 2020, that is the money spent by Finnish and foreign tourists in Finland during the year.
The estimate was prepared by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, in cooperation with Visit Finland, Statistics Finland, the Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa, and the Association of Finnish Travel Agents SMAL. It appears that the statistics available now confirm the organizations’ earlier assessment on the development of tourism demand in Finland in September 2020.
Decline in international tourism
Travel policies and restrictive measures introduced to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Finland and other countries had a serious impact on cross-border tourism.
According to preliminary estimates, the coronavirus crisis reduced the amount of money spent by foreign tourists in Finland by 67%, or 3.3 billion euros. Meanwhile, demand for foreign travel by Finnish people fell by 73%, or approximately 1.7 billion euros.
The Finnish tourism sector relies heavily on the recovery of international tourism. However, according to the Ministry, "the recovery of tourism demand, particularly inbound and outbound tourism, will be significantly slower than the demand for domestic tourism."
Domestic tourism dropped
After the challenging spring months, domestic tourism grew in the June-August period, with the level of demand approaching that of 2019. However, following the introduction of more restrictive measures, demand began to fall again in September.
Two very different trends can be distinguished in domestic tourism. Demand for rental cottages increased sharply in May and remained high until the end of the year. On the other hand, demand for hotel accommodation experienced a downward trend from March onwards.
In other types of accommodation, demand started to grow from July onwards. The preliminary estimates show that domestic tourism demand fell by 20% or 1.7 billion euros in 2020.
The next update of the estimates on tourism demand will be published on 17 March 2021.