Accommodation and catering business

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for the Act on Accommodation and Catering Services, which contains provisions on certain obligations concerning the accommodation and catering business. The main obligations concern the passenger card. According to the Act, the accommodation business operator is responsible for the passenger cards of the passengers arriving at the operator’s place of accommodation. Accommodation business operators are also required to submit a notification referred to in the Health Protection Act to the health protection authority. 

According to the Act on Accommodation and Catering Services, accommodation business operations mean the offering of furnished rooms or other accommodation for customers in need of temporary accommodation on a professional basis. In practice, the scope of the Act covers different forms of accommodation business, including hotels, motels, hostels or holiday resorts, camping sites, farm tourism, and commercial bed and breakfast services and provision of holiday homes. 

The passenger card may be completed by the passenger, the accommodation business operator or a member of staff on the basis of the information provided by the passenger in advance. If the passenger is accompanied by their spouse and underage children, the details of all family members must be entered on the same passenger card. On prearranged group tours, the leader of the group may enter the details of all group members on a single passenger card.   

The accommodation business operator is also required to verify the identity of a foreign passenger or, for group travellers, the identity of the group leader.

The accommodation business operator must submit the passenger details of foreigners to the competent police department in the location of the accommodation facilities. Passenger cards and information must be retained for one year after which they shall be destroyed. 

The Act also provides for the right of the accommodation and catering business operator to refuse entry to the premises or to refuse to serve food or drink to a customer in certain situations and, if necessary, to remove the customer from the premises. In its activities, the operator shall take into account the provisions of the Non-Discrimination Act banning discrimination.  

Provisions on the serving of alcohol by food and beverage service businesses are included in the Alcohol Act.

Further information: sami.teravainen(at)

More information on the passenger card