The 2020 tourism survey by the Matka Nordic Travel Fair explored Finns’ reasons for travelling and their opinions on travel. People travel to experience everyday life and local culture. Responsibility and sustainability feature more prominently than before in people’s travel decisions. Matka Nordic Travel Fair 2020 will be open to the public at Messukeskus in Helsinki from 17 to 19 January 2020.
When travelling, Finns go for less touristy destinations and street food. What they look for in a holiday is local culture and everyday experiences. As for accommodation, people expect the basics to be in order and the staff to be at their disposal. Small, local boutiques and authentic communities are of interest to Finnish travellers. Finns, in particular, want business and leisure travel be kept separate.
Responsible travel decisions
Responsibility and sustainability in travel is a topical issue, and one that is also reflected in the tourism survey results. As in previous years, when travelling, the majority of Finns favour local service providers, such as hotels and restaurants. Many also reduce the tourism load on destinations by travelling outside the busiest season.
Indeed, Finnish tourists are responsible and follow instructions, and respect the customs of the local culture. For almost half of the respondents, preserving local culture is the most important criterion in making responsible travel decisions. Equality and human rights (35%) and the preservation of biodiversity (34%) were also considered important.
However, travel decisions were less influenced by other criteria related to responsibility and sustainability. For example, every tenth respondent had offset the CO2 emissions from their flights, while one in four (24%) felt that offsetting their CO2 emissions was not an issue of interest. One in ten respondents (11%) felt that responsibility did not play a role in making travel decisions.
“The basic idea of travel and its impacts are seen largely as good, and the respondents consider the most positive effects of travel to be getting a break from everyday life, broadening their worldview, and exploring new cultures, not forgetting relaxation. The respondents, in turn, cited emissions, pollution and littering as the negative aspects of travel. Travel companies are constantly putting more effort into making travel more sustainable. After all, sustainable development is the prerequisite for the success of the entire travel industry”, says Heli Maki-Franti, managing director at the Association of Finnish Travel Agents, AFTA.
Finns’ travel plans: trips with themes of history and culture
Themed trips have established themselves in the travel plans of Finns. Almost one third of the respondents have been on a cultural or historical trip, and almost as many are planning to go on a trip that focuses on culture or historical sites. One in five respondents (22%) say they have been on a nature trip, and more than a third are planning to go on a nature trip in or outside Finland. Very few people have been on trips themed around food, wine or health so far, but there are many who are planning such trips.
“Finns have embraced travel that is conceived around a specific theme. More and more Finns are going on themed trips, and more and more people have already realised their plans for, for example, a sports holiday, a nature trip or a pilgrimage. People clearly want to invest effort in themed trips. This is reflected in the fact that more and more themed trips are booked each year through experts at travel agencies”, says Anne Lahtinen, research manager at Kantar.