The Finnish tourism sector, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus, is now also affected by the war in Ukraine after many people canceled their trips to Finland.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a large number of people to cancel their trips to Russia’s neighboring country, Finland, amid safety concerns, TheSchengen.com reports.
According to Business Finland’s travel marketing sector, Visit Finland, the Finnish tourism sector could be severely affected if the crisis in Ukraine continues.
In this regard, Director of Visit Finland, Kristina Hitasari, stressed that the tourism sector in Finland is improving, especially during the spring and summer travel seasons, but after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the tourism sector is facing uncertainty.
“We have sent inquiries about the current situation, whether you can come to Finland and what has been affected here. Hitasari noted that this is a serious crisis and we fear it may have implications.
In addition, Finnvera’s Regional Administrator for Northern Finland, Pasi Vartiainen, has also recorded travel cancellations in several provinces of Northern Finland.
“I am worried about the upcoming seasons. I suspect that the desire to travel is declining across Europe, but the presence of Finland on the Russian border also greatly influences these decisions,” Vartinen noted.
He confirmed that cancellations were recorded in both Lapland and Helsinki.
A report published by the country’s border guard, the Raja, in January, revealed that the re-imposition of internal border controls had led to a significant drop in arrivals, or 43.5 percent, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
According to a press release published by Raja, the number of border checks at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport has decreased by 13 per cent.
Besides the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine, the Finnish authorities are also welcoming a large number of citizens from Russia after the latter’s citizens left their country due to sanctions imposed by Western countries and increasing pressure from the Russian government.
In this regard, the Finnish authorities announced that the border crossing between Finland and Russia, located in Valima, received a large number of Russian citizens.
As of Monday, more than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The authorities in Finland are preparing to receive a large number of applications for international protection in Finland. However, since citizens of Ukraine can freely enter Finland without a visa, the Finnish authorities are not sure about the number of arrivals at this point.