Evaluation: Coronavirus pandemic reduced tourist spending by over 40% in Finland 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, EUR 16.1 billion. In other words, the coronavirus pandemic reduced the spending by tourists in Finland by nearly EUR 7 billion.
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 organisations’ earlier assessment on the development of tourism demand in Finland in September 2020.
Huge 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 EUR 3.3 billion, in 2020. Meanwhile, demand for foreign travel by Finnish people fell by 73%, or approximately EUR 1.7 billion.
The Finnish tourism sector relies heavily on the recovery of international tourism. The recovery of tourism demand, particularly inbound and outbound tourism, will be significantly slower than the demand for domestic tourism.
A major drop in domestic tourism, with the exception of summer
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 EUR 1.7 billion euros in 2020.
Estimates for 2021 to be published in March
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 prepared official estimates of the development of tourism demand in 2020. The estimates were published for the first time on 6 May 2020 and were updated on 9 September 2020.
The next update of the estimates on tourism demand will be published at a webinar organised by Visit Finland on 17 March 2021.
Tourism demand reflects the amount of money tourists spend on purchasing products and services during the year. The total demand for tourism includes the spending of both Finnish and foreign tourists in Finland. The estimates reflect the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on travel and tourism in Finland as a whole.
Sanna Kyyrä, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 012
Katarina Wakonen, Manager, Research, Visit Finland, tel. +358 40 072 3088 040 072 3088
Ossi Nurmi, Senior Statistician, Statistics Finland, tel. +358 295 512 984
Ari Peltoniemi, Chief Economist, Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa, tel. +358 44 750 4511
Heli Mäki-Fränti, Managing Director, Association of Finnish Travel Agents SMAL, tel. +358 40 575 1303 040 575 1303