Chinese overtake Russians in tourism income for Helsinki Region
The number of Chinese visitors to Helsinki Region has developed extremely positively this year, offsetting the reduction in the number of visitors from Russia. This year for the first time the tourism income generated by visitors from China has surpassed spending by visitors from Russia. The reduction in overnight stays by visitors from Russia has also been offset by the growing number of visitors from China and other major markets.
As a result of the weakening rouble and the worsening economic situation in Russia, the number of visitors from Russia to Helsinki Region has fallen by 41 percent this year. On the other hand, there has been a strong increase in the number of visitors from China since 2010. This year alone the number of visitors from China to Helsinki Region has increased by 41 percent.
The tourism income generated by visitors from China has also increased significantly. According to a border survey conducted by research and analysis company TAK Oy, the number of visitors from China to Helsinki Region during the period January-September amounted to 360,000 and spending among these visitors averaged 380 euros per person. By comparison, the number of visitors from Russia during the same period amounted to 546,000 yet spending per person was about 165 euros.
“Visitors from China generated 137 million euros in tourism income for Helsinki Region in the first three quarters of this year. At the same time, visitors from Russia generated tourism income of around 90 million euros,” says Tuulikki Becker, CEO of Visit Helsinki.
According to estimates by TAK Oy, the number of visitors from Russia spending the New Year holidays in Helsinki from 28 December 2015 to 10 January 2016 will be similar to the relatively low number a year ago, i.e. around 36,000.
“There was a big drop in the number of visitors from Russia to Helsinki last New Year’s, falling by around a half, but we do not expect this number to fall any further this year,” says Pasi Nurkka, CEO of TAK Oy.
Overnight stays up within Helsinki
Accommodation providers within Helsinki (excluding Espoo and Vantaa) reported four percent more overnight stays during the period January-September 2015 than in the corresponding period last year, despite the number of visitors from Russia falling by 41 percent. The number of overnight stays by visitors from China has grown during the same period by almost 49 percent.
The reduction in overnight stays by visitors from Russia has been offset not only by the growing number of visitors from China but also from other major markets like Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and Japan. In addition, the number of overnight stays in Helsinki by domestic visitors is also on the rise. In fact, Russia may no longer be the biggest incoming market for visitors to Helsinki, as it has been for years, as the number of overnight stays by visitors from Germany overtook Russian overnight stays last August. The upcoming New Year’s holiday season will determine whether Russia can stay on top as the biggest incoming market for the entire year.
“We expect the number of overnight stays in Helsinki to grow by around four percent this year to 3.4 million. Helsinki’s strength is that we have several major incoming markets that we are also actively investing in,” adds Visit Helsinki’s Tuulikki Becker.
Helsinki Convention & Events Bureau and Visit Helsinki are marketing names used by Helsinki Marketing Ltd, a city-owned company that is responsible for the city’s marketing operations.