How Finland Can Offer a Warm Welcome to Chinese Tourists

As a Chinese Associate of Xport, it’s really nice to hear all the recent commercial developments between China and Finland. It’s also my pleasure to share my perspective about tourism to Finland from China.

Finnair is one of the most successful company in Finland, and their excellent marketing skill and executive power is noticed in Chinese market. Finnair is a pioneer of cooperating with Chinese airlines, and many Chinese tourists are enjoying flights to Finland. Many Chinese tourism companies book group flight tickets from Finnair and, for many packages travelling to the Nordics, the first stop will be Finland. For this reason, most of them return from Finland also, which supports the trains and cruise ship businesses as well.

Beginning in January 2018, Helsinki airport will add a new airline to its mix with the arrival of budget Chinese operator Lucky Air, who will offer a triangular route between Helsinki, Kunming and Chengdu. Finnair are not afraid of the competition, although CEO Pekka Vauramo said:

“I’m sure (Lucky Air) will quickly increase the number of flights. The flights are in any case catering to a different market within China to Finnair’s. There is a lot of space in the sky for all these flights… It’s a completely different thing, whether they will find accommodation in Finland.”

But maybe this will help…

Chinese travel agencies are experimenting with a new form of cultural exchange, where Chinese tourists get to spend a few hours or even a night with a Finnish family in South Karelia. About 50 families in Lappeenranta area have signed up for the opportunity to host Chinese travellers. Home visiting helps develop the tourism business. Many agencies was asking where we can visit in Finland aside from Santa’s Village (Lapland) and Helsinki. In fact, there are many aspects of Finland that are interesting to Chinese visitors; Aurora Borealis, the natural forest, pure environment, clean and safe food. But many people forget that traveling also means visiting culture, and the best way for this is meeting people. Visiting in the local host’s house, drink tea or coffee and talking about some family daily lives. Finnish people are friendly and kind, they can represent Finland in a natural and relaxing way. This will enable more Chinese people to understand the life in Finland and know about this mystical country.

It is important that visitors feel welcomed and that the facilities are offered where the tourists visit. Recently, my Aunt visited Finland, in Kemi and she wanted traditional Finnish food. I know Kemi, but could not find anywhere suitable, so we drove to Oulu –over 100 KMs and 90 minutes, just to find Finnish food. In Finland!

Things are getting better though. Since 2015, “Alipay” has became to one of the most important payment system in China. It’s a mobile phone app, developed by Alibaba Group, which is connected to your bank account. Chinese people now use their phones to pay for most daily bills and shopping. The good thing is you can now use this app in Lapland now. It’s exciting news for Chinese tourists, it shows the attitude of Finnish service providers and their respect of Chinese tourism business. The tourists who go to Kemi and Rovaniemi can use “Alipay” to pay the hotel bill, buy food in restaurants and so on. I understand that, in Helsinki and Tampere, many hotels and restaurants are also trying to cooperate with Alibaba group to support this payment.

The cultural communication between Finland and China brings the countries closer together. The tourists’ stories are still going on between Finnish and Chinese, I hope you will also join this modern trend.

If you want to arrange to discuss your plans for appealing to Chinese visitors with me and the team at Xport, contact us here. Xport has a selection of service packages that should qualify for financial support e.g. Innovaatioseteli, Yritysryhmähankkeet. Our team includes both Finnish and International with experience in the HoReCa industry, who can assess, plan and implement changes that you want to make.

6.10.2017, Winnie Ding, Xport Associate

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