Promising news from Finland: The number of overnight stays by visitors in Helsinki reached a new record level last year, increasing by 2 percent and exceeding overnight stays by business travelers for the first time. The number of domestic overnight stays increased by 1.5 percent and achieved a new all-time record of 1.29 million. However, the number of foreign overnight stays decreased by over 10 percent, thus ending three straight years of record growth in tourism to Helsinki.
Due to the global recession, the number of overnight stays at accommodation outlets in Helsinki amounted to 2.9 million, representing a decrease of 5.6 percent. The decrease was felt particularly in terms of business travel, with the corresponding number of overnight stays falling by approximately 14 percent.
Helsinki’s appeal among domestic leisure travelers was enhanced by a large number of popular events, including the Picasso exhibition at the Ateneum Art Museum, as well as by affordable hotel prices. The average price of a hotel room fell to below 100 euros, and the average price of an overnight stay per person was less than 65 euros. The occupancy rate among accommodation outlets was the lowest in a decade at 62.4 percent. Helsinki had the least expensive accommodation among all the Nordic capitals.
A total of 3.8 million overnight stays were registered in Helsinki region, which is 4.9 percent less than in the previous year. The number of overnight stays increased to 603,000 in Vantaa thanks to new hotel capacity, whereas in Espoo the number of overnight stays fell by 9 percent to 335,000.
Growth expected in 2010 Helsinki is targeting growth of two percent in overnight stays this year. Leisure travel will benefit from new low-cost flight connections. EasyJet began flying from Manchester and Paris to Helsinki in February, and Norwegian is introducing flights from Oslo and Stockholm at the end of April.
In January-February, the number of overnight stays at accommodation outlets in Helsinki showed promising growth of 6.5 percent.
The statistical reports can be read on at www.visithelsinki.fi.