Shopping in Finland no longer a Priority for Russians

Alena Donskaya, 22.04.2014 07:14
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Russians are more and more frequently traveling to Finland for tourism purposes and not for the purposes of shopping. Such are the findings of a research that was conducted by the Finnish company “Center of Research and Analysis TAK” (Tutkimus- ja Analysointikeskus TAK Oy) during the course of the last year, reports the TRN correspondent.

The research included a poll among 7,152 Russian tourists who were leaving Finland in their own car, on a bus or a minibus, or on a train, boat or plane. The poll was held at five border crossing points in South-Eastern and Eastern Finland (Niirala, Imatra, Nuijamaa, Vainikkala and Vaalimaa), as well as in Helsinki’s port and in Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

About 94% of Russians who visited Finland in 2013 went through these border crossing points,” says the center’s report.

According to the poll, about two thirds of the Russians who visited Finland in 2013 came to the county for the purposes of shopping, and 38% – for the purposes of tourism; this showed a 19% decrease in the number of shopping trips. Also, this decrease is evident not only among the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast residents, but also among the residents of border territories. As expected, St. Petersburg residents are the most frequent Russian visitors of Finland: in 2013 they made up 73% of those who came for shopping and 80% of those who came for tourism.

The increase in the number of trips for the purposes of tourism manifested itself in the rise of nights Russians spent in Finland. In 2012, more than 7% of the total number of nights came from rented cottages, and in 2013 this percentage reached 14%. Russians mostly spend one night in a hotel, or two nights on average, while spending from 2 to 7 nights in rented cottages.

As TRN correspondent learned in VIP-Karta travel firm, Russians mainly spend one night in a hotel during a weekend trip, while renting cottages is reserved for holidays with children, fishing trips, or even for collecting mushrooms and berries.

The popularity of Finnish cities among tourists is determined by their proximity to the border. For instance, Lappeenranta is located closer to St. Petersburg, which is why it is no surprise that this small town was visited by 41% of Russians who came to Finland in 2013. Helsinki and Imatra were both visited by 22% of Russian tourists.

Russian tourists still constitute one of the most important markets for the Finnish economy: in 2013, they spent €1.21bn in the country, more than 908 million of which were spent on various goods and upwards of 301 million – on services.

It is interesting that in 2013 Russians spent less money on clothes in Finland, but spent the same amount on food and household items, which is more than 350 million euro.

One of the main findings of the research is probably the trend of Russians spending less money. “They spent less money on shopping than they had used to and, despite staying in the country for a longer period of time, they were more cautious when deciding what to spend their money on,” states the report of Tutkimus- ja Analysointikeskus TAK Oy.

However, such sentiments do not really trouble the authorities of Lappeenranta, the most popular Finnish city among Russians.

We understand that the overall economic situation in Russia, coupled with the growth of the euro rate against the ruble, forces Russians to be more conscious of their expenses, but we hope that the majority of Russian guests will stick to the habit of coming to Finland for holidays,” said  Head of Lappeenranta’s Marketing Communications Mirka Rahman  in an interview with the TRN correspondent.

At the same time, Finnish travel authorities admit that there are a number of problems which, along with the growth of the euro rate, may drive Russian tourists off. These primarily include the still remaining queues at the border’s car crossing points and relatively high prices, both for goods and accommodation. For instance, even during the off-season the price of a single room in Imatra is €130, and it reaches €200 during the high season. Also, Russians complain about events being few and far between and about the small number of entertainment options.


Страны, регионы и города: Finland, Russia
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