ABU DHABI, 22nd April, 2018 (WAM) — The number of visitors from the UAE increased by 30 percent to almost 10,000 in 2017, the Finnish tourist authority, Visit Finland, has highlighted as the government entity makes its debut on the exhibition floor during Arabian Travel Market, ATM, 2018.
Speaking at a press conference during ATM today, Visit Finland representative, Teemu Ahola said, “2017 was another excellent year for the Finnish tourism industry with nearly 22 million visitors, growth of seven percent over the 2016 figures when tourists topped 20.3 million. However, we have already seen an increase in 2018 visitors of 3.1 percent compared to this time last year, so we are confident our tourism numbers, and receipts, will eclipse the successes of 2017.”
The increase in UAE visitors, explained Ahola, is in part due to an increase in direct flights to the Finnish capital, Helsinki. Finnair, the national carrier of Finland has committed to repeating its Dubai to Helsinki route later this year, flying between October 2018 and March 2019, while Turkish Airlines has a route between the UAE and Finland via Istanbul. Flydubai is also set to launch a new route which will increase capacity still further during the winter months.
Finland has long been a popular destination within the European market, however Visit Finland is now keen to explore other markets and have identified the Middle East where the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, already make up the bulk of GCC visitors.
“After a positive response from ATM last year, where we took the opportunity to garner a better understanding of the region and research the potential outbound markets, we have returned with a dedicated marketing campaign for the Middle East and we’re showcasing some of the leading hotels, resorts and DMCs Finland has to offer in a bid to pique the interest of the market even further,” added Ahola.
Finland was recently voted the safest country in the world for holidaymakers in 2017 by the World Economic Forum, one place ahead of the UAE, while Lonely Planet nominated Finland as one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
“Finland has something unique that differentiates it as a holiday destination, from the rest of the world. We offer a wealth of exceptional accommodation options, in a safe and hospitable environment, with some of the most breath-taking vistas. The fresh, clean air, the great outdoors and the wintery conditions during the colder months is something we believe Middle East visitors will find particularly enchanting,” said Ahola.