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Annex 3. Country report Finland 

1. Domestic Tourism in Finland 

The Finnish tourism industry endured the COVID-19 crisis rather well, and this was largely due to domestic tourism. Domestic tourism has protected and stabilised the Finnish tourism sector, especially during the pandemic and changing political developments. It also plays an important role on making the sector year-round and increasing its volume. The current trends, such as climate change and the growth of sustainability, responsibility, and the popularity of local tourism, also have positive effects on domestic tourism.

1.1 Domestic tourism’s significance

Tourism has a significant effect on the Finnish economy and employment. The direct share of tourism of the Finnish GDP was 2.7 per cent in 2019. The total demand of tourism was more than 16 billion EUR, and the revenue of tourism business totalled almost 21 billion EUR in 2019. In 2020, the GDP share went down to 1.7 per cent, the total demand dropped to 9.7 billion EUR due to the pandemic, and the revenue of tourism business decreased to a bit more than 13 billion EUR. According to the estimates of the trends in 2021, the total demand recovered to 11.2 billion EUR thanks to the growth in domestic tourism.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (s.a.).
In 2019, before the pandemic, the share of domestic demand within the total demand of tourism in Finland was 53 per cent.
In the share of demand, only money spent on domestic tourism is included, i.e., the share of the Finnish businesses of Finnish tourism abroad is not counted.
Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in Finland’s corresponding share of domestic tourism demand within the total demand of tourism, and it is estimated to have been 84 per cent in 2021.
Statistics Finland & Visit Finland / matkailutilinpito.
Figure 1. Tourism Demand in Finland 2017–2021. (Source: Statistics Finland & Visit Finland).
Figure 2. Domestic and foreign overnight stays in 2019-21 and the targets for years 2023 and 2028. Millions of overnights. (Source: Statistics Finland).
In 2019, the amount of registered overnight stays in Finland was 23.1 million, of which the share of domestic travelers was 16 million (69%). In 2021, the amount of domestic overnight stays registered was 15.4 million out of 17.5 million total (88%). The number of domestic overnight stays went down by 4 per cent from the pre-pandemic levels, whereas the foreign overnight stays decreased by 70 per cent. During the first eight months of 2022, the domestic share of overnight stays has been 79 per cent.
Statistics Finland / Majoitustilasto.

1.1.1 Regional differences 

The regional differences in the trends of domestic overnights during the pandemic are significant in Finland. The number of domestic overnights increased between 2020 and July 2022 in all but three of the Finnish regions. The growth of the number of domestic tourists has been the greatest in Lapland, Southwest Finland, and Pirkanmaa.
Data received from Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Figure 3. Changes in the domestic and international overnight stays in Finland between 2020-7/2022 by region. (Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment).
The regional differences in the share of the domestic tourists of all tourists were also visible before the pandemic. In Eastern and Central Finland, the share of the domestic tourists was above average, whereas the share of the total number of tourists was the lowest in Lapland.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2019.

1.1.2 Significance of same-day visits

According to the experts interviewed, the same-day visits are an important form of domestic tourism in Finland. Not only do same-day visits ensure success in specific tourism destinations, but they also contribute to the amount of money staying in the region. The number of the same-day leisure visits increased significantly during the pandemic: as an example, the number of same-day leisure visits from May to August 2021 was 12 million, which was almost the same as the number of same-day leisure visits in 2018 as a whole year (12.2 million). The most popular regions were Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa, and Southwest Finland.
Statistics Finland / Kotimaan päivämatkat kohdemaakunnittain.

1.1.3 Restrictions due to tourism during 2020-21

After the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finnish borders were closed from foreign tourists in March 2020. The borders began to gradually open in the summer of 2020: in June, entry was permitted from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and the Baltic Countries (but not Sweden), and in July 2020, from 24 other countries. After opening the borders, the conditions of entry were alternately tightened and loosened, depending on the current pandemic situation in different countries, as well as the emergence of new virus variants in them. In January 2021, travels were restricted for 30 days to essential work-related travel and visiting relatives. Later in 2021, the travel restrictions began to gradually unravel once again. All border controls in the internal borders of the Schengen area ceased on 31st January 2022, and all health security measures and restrictions on external border traffic were lifted by 30th June 2022. After June 2022, the travelers entering Finland are no longer required to present Covid-related documents or to take a Covid test.  

1.2 Domestic tourist preferences 

The research on Finnish domestic tourists is quite limited. According to the summer tourism barometer in 2021, Finnish domestic tourists’ preferred criterion in the choice of accommodation on summer holidays is the quality-price ratio. Additionally, breakfast, rooms, and service matter, whereas uniqueness or responsibility have lesser weight. Specific profiles were identified through the accommodations they selected. For instance, some tourists were interested in all the most popular accommodations; others used mostly their own summer cottages, and sometimes visited their friends and relatives, and sometimes stayed in the most popular hotel chains; some of them used their holidays only to visit their friends and relatives; and a certain amount of the tourists were interested in all the alternatives.
University of Eastern Finland 2021.

1.2.1 Profiles of domestic tourists

In 2020, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment commissioned a report of the target groups of domestic tourism in Finland.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2021a.
The report focused on studying the current situation and potential regarding domestic tourism, as well as the target groups of domestic tourists. In addition, several product development proposals regarding the tourism business were composed.
In the report, five different profiles of domestic tourists with various needs and expectations were identified: city tourists; visitors and cottagers; active vacationers; comfort-seekers; and those interested in culture and nature.
City tourists (20% of Finns) have an interest in food and nourishment services, sightseeing, theatres, museums, and other cultural services. However, they are quite passive tourists, and none of the fields of their interest were on the highest level of the profiles compared.
Visitors and cottagers (16% of Finns) are interested in visiting relatives and friends, and going to their own or their relatives’ summer cottages. They do not have much interest in anything else, and it is perhaps erroneous to see them as tourists in the traditional sense of the concept.
Active vacationers (19% of Finns) have the most interests out of all the groups compared: outdoor activities, such as golf, paddling, or cycling; different kinds of events; summer cottages; spas, restaurants, and shopping. They are more interested in the activities in nature than the other profiles.
Comfort-seekers (20% of Finns) hold more value toward spas, wellness services, shopping, food and nourishment services, and amusement or theme parks than other tourist profiles.
Those interested in culture and nature (24% of Finns) are immersed in hiking, national parks, sightseeing, and culture. They do not see nature and culture as opposites, considering their equal interest in both. Like active vacationers and comfort-seekers, they are also interested in summer cottaging and visiting relatives and friends.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2021a.
In addition to these profiles, the report also brings forth remote workers and families with small children as groups that have potential, and need to be addressed as their own target groups.
The experts interviewed also see these as important focus groups.
The families with children between 0 to 6 years have somewhat different routines than the average population. The trips are planned in such a way that the children have something to do. Spas are often given as an example of destinations for these families, as they provide services and activities for all the members of the family and ensure that all the members of the family are satisfied.
Also, the remote workers are sometimes seen as a group of their own, uniting working with leisure activities. Due to the changes in working life and the positive attitudes of employers toward remote work, there is a post-pandemic demand for these types of services.

Preferences of domestic tourists and differences to international tourists

According to the experts interviewed, nature tourism, and especially biking tourism, was remarkable in Finland during the pandemic, and is expected to remain as a permanent trend. During the pandemic, the travel destinations in Finland found new domestic customer groups, including those who have traditionally spent their holidays abroad.
The national parks have been a special pull factor for domestic tourists during the pandemic, but the consumers are also interested in other types of nature tourism. Nature, such as forests or bodies of water in the vicinity of the accommodation, offer a chance for nature exploration. Due to the diversity in Finnish nature, domestic tourists can participate in various activities (e.g., cycling, fishing, hunting) throughout the year. Developing sustainable nature tourism (including hunting and fishing) and utilising outdoor recreational areas play a central role in increasing the tourism demand. In addition to nature, domestic tourists are also interested in various types of wellness services.
The Finnish cultural life, including museums, cultural heritage sites, creative businesses, and cultural environments, create a diverse foundation for strengthening the sustainable, year-round cultural tourism around Finland. According to the experts interviewed, the scope of cultural tourism in Finland is quite small, but there is a strong need for far more active fields of cultural tourism.
When it comes to the similarities and differences between Finnish and international tourists, the experts interviewed see that an average Finnish tourist expects the providers of tourism services to offer sustainability, and their quality expectations are on the same level with international tourists. A typical Finnish tourist spends easily more money abroad than in Finland, even if they could afford to spend more. When it comes to the quality-price ratio, Finnish tourists are seen as more demanding than international ones.
Cf. also TAK Research 2020.
Among them, there are differences between domestic and international tourists in using the services provided. The Finns use less money on service than inbound tourists. One difference perceived is that Finnish tourists buy services only when they feel they are unable to do the thing in question independently. According to one interviewee, during the pandemic, guided trips gave way to skiing technic courses and husky rides. The Finnish way of thinking is encapsulated in the following citation: “Finns rather use 20 euros to rent snowshoes than buy a guided snowshoeing tour with 15 euros”. 
On the other hand, another interviewee reminds, that even though Finns are not willing to buy guided tours, some Finnish tourists’ hiking- and camping-related know-how can be quite limited, so basic instructions are still needed. Several suitable services, especially for domestic tourists, have also become available, e.g., car transfer services on trekking routes, or taxi services from the final stops of public transport services to national parks. Also, rental hiking and camping equipment have been in demand among domestic tourists.
Other differences between Finnish and international tourists are: that the Finns have less interest in package tours, prefer to use a car, and buy their travels within a shorter timeframe.
Furthermore, the market searches show differences between Finnish and international tourists. The most searched single topics show that the Finnish domestic market searches typically mention summer markets, whereas international searches are more focused on winter markets. The domestic market searches for activities are related mostly to summer, such as national parks, lakes, camping, castles and fortresses, cycling, golf, amusement parks, and islands.
Visit Finland 2021.
Domestic searches
International searches
National Parks
Spa Resorts
Travel Restrictions
Northern Lights
Travel Restrictions
Glass Cabins
Castles and Fortresses
Spa Hotels
Santa Claus
Places to Visit
Holiday Packages
Holiday Packages
Amusement Parks
Vacation Packages
Ice Hotels
Table 1. The most searched travel-related single topics for Finland in January-December 2021. Words in bold indicate differences between domestic and international searches. (Source: Visit Finland 2021).

1.2.2 Future of domestic tourism in Finland 

The COVID-19 pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, as well as the current inflation trends, have challenged the tourism business. With the lack of far-reaching forecasts, there is great uncertainty towards the future. Even though the deteriorating economic situation is going to affect consumers’ choices, there still seems to be trust regarding the future of domestic tourism. In uncertain circumstances, travelling domestically can be seen as a more flexible and secure alternative. In addition to geopolitical factors, tourism in the homeland or nearby regions may be boosted in the future by climate-related concerns.   
The COVID-19 pandemic increased the relative importance of domestic tourism in Finland. However, the growth of its demand is forecasted to diminish from the trend of the pandemic years. Before the pandemic, the demand of domestic tourism grew by 3 per cent per annum, and the growth for 2022 is expected to be the same. The inflation, especially on the fuel prices, will affect the future development of domestic tourism. From 2023 onwards, the growth trend of domestic tourism is expected to be moderate: the forecast is 1 per cent growth per year on domestic tourism in general, and 2 per cent on overnight stays.
The increased challenges in the availability of the workforce will complicate the recovery and growth of Finnish tourism industry. Part of the workforce was furloughed or laid off permanently during the pandemic, which has changed tourism and may never return to its original state of business. It is also very challenging to find new skilled labour in a situation where the future perspectives are vague.  According to one interviewee, during the furloughs, more effort should have been put into the care and communication towards the personnel, along with the organisation of more training to maintain skills and expertise. Many employers were too quiet and inactive, which may have contributed to the number of career changes.
The tourism strategy of Finland has identified five key priorities that will enable sustainable growth and renewal of the tourism sector: supporting activities that foster its sustainable development, responding to digital change, improving accessibility to cater to the needs of the tourism sector, and ensuring an operating environment that supports competitiveness. Additionally, the fifth priority is cross-cutting cooperation.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2022b.
Also, the experts interviewed had comments on these themes: both the customers and service providers pay more and more attention to sustainability. It has become a basic requirement rather than a way of distinguishing. However, if service providers are able to verify their commitment to sustainability (i.e., via a carbon footprint calculator), it can still give a competitive advantage.
During the pandemic, some of the tourism businesses have taken giant digital leaps. Digitality is seen as a tool that requires constant development. Moreover, the Finnish tourism strategy sees that future digital services require more individuality, automation, intelligence, and customisation.
According to another expert interviewed, the most important themes in the future are developing and improving accessibility and ensuring that the environment supports competition. When it comes to accessibility, interviewee identified that especially train and flight connections in Finland need to be further developed. In order to ensure the stability of a business environment, it is essential to create a political and economic environment that encourages investments beyond the pandemic.
The interviewees also remarked that advancing domestic tourism requires constant regeneration of the tourism sector (e.g. enhancing the cultural sector supply) in order to preserve the interest of Finnish tourists, as the Finnish tourism destinations compete with foreign ones. In this case, the current situation makes it challenging to give forecasts: if the households are in an economically dire position or the general security situation is problematic, tourism will decrease no matter how well its services has been developed.

2. Main stakeholders and coordination of domestic tourism activities

Roles and responsibilities on tourism development

 According to the 2019 report regarding the operational models of the Finnish tourism organisations, the procedures of tourism development varied greatly on an organisational level when it came to their emphasis on domestic and international tourism. In certain regions, tourism organsiations solely concentrated their efforts on increasing the inbound demand; in other regions, the emphasis pertained to the increasement of domestic demand.
There is not a single operative responsible for a national-level coordination of the development of domestic tourism in Finland. However, the need for a national-level coordination has come up in different circumstances. In the autumn of 2021, a series of workshops on the development of domestic tourism was organised and commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. One of the objectives of the workshops was to discuss the need for national-level coordination. The participants of the workshops included operators, specialists, and entrepreneurs in the field of tourism from different regions of Finland. According to the final report, there is a need for the national-level coordination and development of the domestic tourism brand, along with a wider promotion of interests and the development of communication. The hopes expressed were that the arrangement of a national-level coordination of domestic tourism would come about top-down, and simultaneously utilise the pre-existing structures, organisations, and procedures in the field.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 2021b.
Also, the experts interviewed noted that the organisation of tourism development needs improvement and bigger shoulders. The interviewees called for a common top priority project on regional level, such as the development of year-round services, into which all sectors of the tourism field would pledge and invest. There is also a need for sharpening cooperation between the actors. The most important roles of a national-level coordination are seen to be in the fields of communication and intertwinement of different development initiatives into a larger project entity.
In terms of developing domestic tourism, the interviewees considered the most important operatives to be the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Matkailufoorumi, a high-level working group on tourism that serves as an expert advisory body on the strategy related to tourism development; this working group is appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and chaired by the Minister of Economic Affairs. In addition, various regional organisations, the Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus
The Finnish name is the official one, also in English.
(Finnish forest administration), various associations of tourism resorts, camping sites, and ski resorts all play a central role.
The development of domestic tourism is seen as an important issue that has not been paid enough attention. However, according to one interviewee, there is no need to divide the development of domestic and international tourism, as all developments of tourism are important. Tourism-related products should be interesting from both the domestic and foreign viewpoints, and most of the growth is seen to come from the international market. 
Some of the relevant organisations, as well as their general roles in the current tourism development are listed below:
Regional tourism organisations have carried most of the responsibility in developing domestic tourism in Finland. They have a strong role in the tourism development in their own regions. However, there are more than 70 regional tourism organisations, and their regional coverage and working procedures vary. Generally speaking, their roles and scope have increased during the last years. They spur the digital development, observe the quality of the services, and execute the regional development strategies. They also pass on information, collect the regional tourism supply into larger and vendible products, organise the joint marketing of regional tourism services, and work as a forum of cooperation between local service providers. Their role in the successful promotion of regional tourism is essential, especially when it comes to domestic markets and promoting international tourism to Finland in their own regions.
Visit Finland 2019
Additionally, there are several regional development companies, whose responsibilities include providing services for local businesses (tourism and others).
Among the public sector actors in the field of tourism development are various ministries, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, regional organisations, municipalities, and Metsähallitus. The role of the public sector is to create an operational environment that supports the sustainable growth of tourism, ensures fair competition, provides adequate support and financing instruments for the enterprises and other actors, improves relevant legislation, allocates investments toward relevant infrastructure, and strengthens the Finnish country brand, etc. Already mentioned above, Matkailufoorumi is a high-level working group on tourism that serves as an expert advisory body on the strategy related to tourism development. Visit Finland, operating as a part of Business Finland (a public organisation under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment), is a unit whose task is promoting inbound tourism to Finland.
Other actors include the tourism enterprises, who develop their businesses and competencies, and participate in the costs related to the actions of the development of their business activities, and they are also often members of various interest groups of their sectors. In addition, the trade unions of the tourism sector employees are relevant actors in the field, as well as different research and educational bodies, whose tasks include training the personnel through degree-providing, updating education, and offering relevant and up-to-date research findings in order to promote the sustainable growth and renewal of the tourism industry. Additionally, there are a number of associations with both companies and private individuals as active members in the field of tourism and tourism development.

Funding of the tourism sector 

The public funding of the tourism sector in its entirety between the years 2014 and 2020 was around 694 million EUR, of which the share of the project activities was around 368 million EUR (EU funding: 339 million EUR; national funding: 29 million EUR). As the project funding includes shares of developing both domestic and international tourism, it is not possible to give an exact number of the share of domestic tourism development.
In 2020, the tourism sector received COVID-19-related funding, totalling more than 263 million EUR. In the public project funding, the most important sources of funding have been the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF). In addition, fundings from various ministries and their administrative sectors, and regional organizations, cities, and municipalities have also played a role.
On a regional level, the project funding has concentrated primarily on Northern Finland, especially in Lapland. Most of the funding was received in the form of corporate subsidies (especially subsidies on investments) and support for the development of operative activities within the tourism sector (e.g., tourism marketing and product development). The allocation of fundings has been done through different strategies, focus points of various development programs, and policies concerning the sources of funding. Although the funding has been utilised to enhance inbound tourism, the investments have also often promoted domestic tourism.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, 2022.

3. Best practices

3.1 Case 1: Cooperation between Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus and tourism enterprises

The cooperation between the Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus
The Finnish name is the official one, also in English.
(Finnish forestry administration) and local tourism enterprises around the country has a long history spanning more than 20 years. Throughout this history, the cooperation has been based on the principles of sustainability and responsibility. As the values have been shared, it has been fairly easy to develop the cooperation. In order to ensure the conservation of national parks and other nature reserves, principles of sustainable tourism have been created. The same principles are nowadays used in tourism related to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Finland.
However, during the pandemic, the number of cooperating partner enterprises have more than doubled. Prior to the pandemic, the number totalled around 500-600; after the pandemic, it was more than 1200. The pandemic also gave an impulse for developing new methods of cooperation.

3.1.1 Activities

Shortly after the pandemic began, it was realised that the situation would lead to a rush of domestic tourists to various nature tourism destinations. First, the Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus ensured that their own organisation would be ready for the extra workload in order to support the partner enterprises. Strengthened by the supplementary budget of the state, the resources were thereafter directed among others to the renovation of the facilities in the most popular destinations. In addition, various kinds of material were created for the enterprises, e.g., electronical material regarding sustainability and responsibility in order to keep those themes visible during the times of remarkable growth in the number of visitors.
During the pandemic, the national parks and other nature destinations received several new visitors, many of them first-timers. This was a boost for the partner enterprises of Metsähallitus that focused on the national park visitors. Meanwhile, various partners (especially in Northern Finland) with clienteles primarily comprised of foreign tourists struggled due to the decrease in the number of clients. This imbalance also created challenges for the Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus, as they needed to cooperate with both groups of partners: those experiencing an exceptional bonanza of customers, and those struggling for their survival.
Another challenge was that in addition to the most popular nature destinations, the more tranquil and isolated ones also had a remarkable growth of demand, as many people specifically looked for solitude. However, in general, the services provided were adequate and the development of the destinations was a success, which is demonstrated, e.g., by the fact that there were no known chains of infection in any of the nature destinations in Finland. 
Another important part of developing cooperation during the pandemic centered on easing and smoothing the bureaucracy around the cooperation, as there used to be various types of licences and contracts between those involved. Also, the material bank of Metsähallitus was made available to the cooperation partners, giving them access to a great number of high-level resources.

3.1.2 Organisation and stakeholders

The organisation of the Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus is quite lean. There are around 15 officials, some of them having other tasks in addition to cooperating with partners. Finland has been divided into eight different zones, each of them having their own officials in charge. Additionally, one of the officials also has the responsibility of a national-level coordination, and there are other actors in charge of cross-cutting themes, such as equality or sustainable development. However, most of the cooperation happens on a local level, as it is the level of operation of the partner enterprises. As a public organisation, Metsähallitus also offers various services to those enterprises that do not have the official partner status.
Among other stakeholders involved are regional tourism organisations, Visit Finland, and various public sector operatives, such as ministries. There has been cooperation between the Finnish World Heritage Sites and the research sector as well.

3.1.3 Funding

It is hard to estimate the entire amount of money used in the cooperation and development during the pandemic years, as some of the projects were carried out as part of the continuous operations of Metsähallitus, or by channeling pre-existing funding to new targets, whereas some other projects received separate funding. Altogether, the money used in, e.g., the development of infrastructure, is several million euros, which also includes some repair deficits.

3.1.4 Lessons learned

There are various reasons why the development and support activities during the pandemic were so successful. For instance, the number of visitors to the national parks had been well-monitored for a long time, producing a long history of data that supported the forecasts and gave some historical perspective. Because of this, the estimates of the following developments were quite right from the beginning, which eased the planning of the actions. Another thing that eased forecasting was active communication to colleagues abroad, such as the National Park Service in the United States. In addition, the division of work functioned well: as an example, communication towards the tourists was largely left to the partner enterprises, as they were anyway in contact with them, which allowed the resources of Metsähallitus to be concentrated to other efforts.
Some of the activities have been evaluated, but a wholesome approach to all of the projects remains to be conducted, although they have been covered in the annual reports and other similar materials. However, various takeaways can be brought forth based on these materials and organisational memory.  
One main takeaway is the importance of communications. In a situation where some of the partner enterprises were doing extremely well and others were in serious troubles, the messages sent needed to be delicate and take the differences into account. At the same time, the activities needed to be carried out quickly, whether they were about offering services or spreading information, as they had to be ready when they were needed. The partner enterprises also valued the ability of Metsähallitus to see the big picture and succesfully forecast the upcoming developments, and base their acitivities on that.

3.2 Case 2: Dirty placenames -campaign

The Dirty Placenames -campaign started in 2019, a year before the pandemic. It was inspired by an article in the Finnish media about the weirdest toponyms in Finland, and the fact that the Kuusamo region had more of them than any other region in Finland. This gave the local Ruka-Kuusamo tourist association an idea of launching an advertising campaign focusing on those placenames and targeted it to domestic tourists. The concept focused on “dirty“ (sexual and/or expletive-themed) placenames on one hand, and the beautiful nature and landscapes of the region on the other.
The campaign was already successful in 2019, but it was during the pandemic years when the campaign really became a hit for various reasons. Firstly, there was the humorous message of the campaign and well-executed advertisements, such as short video clips with messages like Näin lorisee Kusipuro (“That’s how the gurgle of Piss Stream sounds like”), showing the stream of water in a small creek. Secondly, during the pandemic, people spent much more time on social media and other online sites than usual. Because of this, the web advertisements gained a great deal of popularity, and were widely shared by the social media users, which is fairly uncommon for commercial content. Thirdly, the nature destinations that were the object of the campaign were among those tourism destinations whose popularity grew in the pandemic years.
All in all, the campaign was a remarkable success. It was distributed only in the summertime, as the Kuusamo region has for years been a top destination for winter travels, meaning that the role of advertisement is very different during winters and summers. Tourism in the Kuusamo region reached all-time record levels in the summers of 2020 and 2021. During the summer of 2022, the number of tourists was still higher than in 2019.

3.2.1 Activities

The innovative campaign was not the only thing where the tourism sector in the Kuusamo region succeeded during the pandemic. After the onset of the pandemic, the tourism association used different sources and branches of the industry to quickly make some scenarios and roadmaps for local enterprises to utilise, and to guide them how to react to different developments. Soon, it was realised that nothing needed to be shut down entirely, and by actively investing in marketing, the sector was able to remain viable. Because of this, when tourism was again possible at least on a domestic level, the region was ready for it and had all the necessary preconditions for success. 
Also, the advertisement campaign was developed during the pandemic. The advertisements were also broadcast in radio, and the visibility of “dirty” places was increased by signposts directing interested tourists to the places. New ways of developing the campaign are currently in the works, as the campaign will take place in the summer of 2023.

3.2.2 Organization and stakeholders

The campaign itself is produced by the three-person marketing team of the region’s tourism association, together with a Finnish advertising agency. The campaign has also been in cooperation with Finnish travel organisations’ association Suoma ry, and its “100 reasons to travel in Finland” campaign.

3.2.3 Funding

The tourism association has around 150 member enterprises that fund the campaign. Also, the local municipalities’ taskforce for regional development has given some support. The annual budget of the campaigns has been around 1500 00 EUR.

3.2.4 Lessons learned

The main reason behind the success of the campaign has been the situation created by the pandemic. Due to the situation, the Kuusamo region was able to offer lots of services and destinations that Finnish tourists were interested in. By daring to invest in advertising during the early stages of the pandemic, the region gained an upper hand to many other homeland destinations. The advertisement campaign has also utilised optimisation methods in order to gain maximum weight for the ads.
In addition, one factor of success was naturally the discernible style of the campaign, which has gained the attention of the audience. The theme of the campaign also stems from actual peculiarities of the region, instead of being superimposed by some external operative. At the beginning of the campaign, it also gained some critical responses, especially from the locals who did not want their home region to become known in such a way; later, during the pandemic years, they have grown more accustomed to it, and the campaign doesn’t raise as much emotions as it did at the beginning. The 2021 campaign was also awarded in the Finnish annual gala of radio advertisements and succeeded in getting the media and individual consumers to continue the advertisement.
No actual evaluation has been done to the campaign, but an attitude survey about the Kuusamo region as a destination of summer tourism is currently taking place. This may also give insights on how big of a role the campaign has played in increasing the region’s popularity as a summertime destination.


Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (2019): Selvitys kotimaan matkailun kehittämistarpeista 2019. Retrieved from https://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/161636
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