Brexit and Thomas Cook took their toll on Lapland's Christmas tourism business
A total of 724 chartered flights landed in Lapland airports in December. This is 55 flights less than in 2018. Finnish airport operator Finavia blames the United Kingdom for this decline.
Last Christmas, the airports of Lapland experienced a decrease in the number of chartered flights, one of the main travel options for tourists -especially from the United Kingdom- willing to experience the magic of the land of Santa Claus.
According to the figures published by Finland's main airport operator (Finavia), a total of 724 chartered flights flew to Rovaniemi, Kittilä, Ivalo, Enontekiö and Kuusamo in December. This is 55 flights fewer than in 2018.
Finavia says it is clear what are the reason behind this decline: "The single greatest reason behind the decline was the Thomas Cook bankruptcy in September 2019. In addition, the uncertainty brought on by Brexit has surely affected the willingness of Brits to travel," the operator said in a press release.
Despite the slight decrease in flight numbers, Jani Jolkkonen, Finavia’s Senior Vice President, Airport Network, says he is satisfied with this season.
“We have tracked the development of the number of chartered flights throughout the autumn, and we are happy with the number of flights that was affected by everything going in the UK in particular,” says Jolkkonen.
Satisfaction also in the tourism sector?
“In recent years, we have strongly invested in Lapland airports, especially Rovaniemi, Ivalo and Kittilä and, of course, we hope that passengers are satisfied with the renovations. We have received plenty of positive feedback regarding the increased terminal space and new services, among other things,” adds Jolkkonen.
It remains to be seen if Lapland tourism entrepreneurs -especially accommodation establishments- are also satisfied. In November, they had to deal with a 5.7% decrease in overnight stays of foreign tourists. Again, this decline was influenced by the general fall in visits by British travelers.
Finavia emphasized that the final number of chartered Christmas flights to Lapland airports corresponded to its November estimate. According to that forecast, the results in 2019 would not be better than those of the previous year.