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Finland records surge in Chinese tourists

By Ren Xiaojin | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-09-10 14:54
San Nicolas Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland, Aug 24, 2011. [Photo/ VCG]

Mayor of Helsinki, capital of Finland, saw the travel habits change in Chinese tourists over the recent years as the number of them increased.

In an interview with China Daily, Jan Vapaavuori, the mayor, said the city is changing and adopting WeChat, a widely used Chinese app, in a number of ways to make travel easier and more comfortable for Chinese tourists as the number has been rising over the recent years.

The mayor said from his office in the Helsinki city hall he often sees Chinese sitting in the park chilling, relaxing and having a good time.

"Today and tomorrow's tourism is not based on a single signature attractions anymore. It was the first phase of tourism when they wanted to see the Eiffel Tower or something like that," said Vapaavuori. "Now they want to feel the city, live like a local, look at the architecture and have a cup of coffee."

"It's a different mode, they just enjoy walking around, sitting in the bench in a park waiting for outdoor activities or whatever it could happen," he added.

The number of tourists in Finland has seen rapid growth, said Paavo Virkkunen, head of Visit Finland, the country's tourism bureau. The number of overnight stay of Chinese in the country has grown from 98,100 in 2007 to 361,800 in 2017.

According to Virkkunen, the snowy winter is just as welcome among Chinese tourists as its breezy summer, as 58 percent of Chinese tourists came to Helsinki during summer, while 42 percent of them came to experience the unique North European winter.

"We are intending to increase the popularity of Finland as a winter destinations and we want to attract more tourists during summer and autumn as well," he said.

However, facing such a fast increase in the number of incoming Chinese tourists--almost double in recent years, Helsinki's hospitality has shown a sign of failing to meet up with the demand.

"We are also trying to convince some Chinese hotel chains to come and build hotels in Helsinki," Vapaavuori said.

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