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Finnish Tourist Bureau

Australians ‘tango’ with the Finns in a big way

Finland has experienced incredible growth from Australia in the last five years and 2007 was no exception with a record 40,000 Australian overnight stays. “This is a great achievement and, for us, reflects the huge attraction of Finland as a European destination,” Finnish Tourist Bureau representative Australia Satu Raunola said. “And

Finland has experienced incredible growth from Australia in the last five years and 2007 was no exception with a record 40,000 Australian overnight stays. “This is a great achievement and, for us, reflects the huge attraction of Finland as a European destination,” Finnish Tourist Bureau representative Australia Satu Raunola said. “And, looking at the strength of forward bookings, this number could be exceeded in 2008,” Raunola said. Since 2003, she said, Australian arrivals have grown by a staggering 37.8 per cent.

“Finland, thanks to the combined efforts of our partners in Australia, has gained a strong consumer profile which is definitely paying off for us,” she said. Summer is the prime season for Australian visitors, Raunola said, with over 70 per cent of Australian arrivals visiting Finland during the summer period of April to October. And half of these opt for the mid-summer period of June to August.

It is a time when the country is in full bloom and host to a myriad of festivals and events.
But winter is also proving a major attraction with approximately 30 per cent of Australian visitors wanting to experience an authentic European winter during the months of November through to April – from the city lights and bustling cafes to the vast beauty of a snow laden Lapland.

Lapland, one of the last European wilderness frontiers, attracted 5,662 Australian overnights last year. The capital city of Helsinki is also a key attraction – a fantastic European city stopover. In 2007 it attracted 22,627 Australian overnights. Meanwhile, the Turku and Tampere regions attracted over 4,000 Australians. “Australians, as is their nature, are really exploring the many sides of the country,” Raunola said.

And they are spending along the way. In 2006, Australians spent a total €366 ($610) per visit or €56 ($93) per day. The total spend of Australians in 2006 was €10 900 000 million (over $18, 1 million).

“They are spreading the tourist dollar right across the country,” she said. In all, the total number of foreign visitors to Finland grew 6.3 per cent in 2007 to 5.3 million with the majority of visitors coming from Russia, UK, Sweden and Germany.

Raunola said the Finland Down Under seminars was an opportunity for agents to gain first-hand knowledge of what Finland offers as a destination  and to speak one-on- one to key Finland tour operators.

“And this year, they can learn about Finnish tango; tango has been hugely popular in Finland for years. There is even an annual Tango Festival held in the town of Seinajoki, known as the ‘second city of tango’ after Buenos Aires. It attracts over 100,000 participants every year,” Raunola said.

“It is just one of the many aspects that makes Finland so attractive.”

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