China’s next top travel destination – Finland!

We have had active discussions among our Finland China Business Club (FCBC) members about the opportunities of increasing Chinese tourism to Finland and the challenges Finland is facing as a potential travel destination. As I am a lazy writer I first list shortly few facts about the Chinese tourism, then I summarize the discussions we’ve had in FCBC and last challenge all the readers to share their ideas on how to attract more and more Chinese tourists to our beautiful country of thousands of lakes.

Few facts:

  1. In 2011 Chinese made ca. 70 million overseas trips. It is estimated to reach 100 million by 2020.  15 years ago the number was only 5 million.
  2. Altogether 74.000 Chinese visited Finland in 2011.
  3. Chinese spent the largest sum of money per visit compared to other foreign visitors in Finland. The sum was 670 € on average.
  4. Overall Chinese tourists spend around 1.000 $ (770 €) per visit abroad. However, some individuals may spend as much as 100.000 ¥ (~12.000 €) only for shopping.
  5. Average spending of Chinese is less than that of Western travelers. However, due to increasing number of Chinese travelers the total is high – leaving the Germans and Americans behind.
  6. Asia, Australia and Europe are the top destinations – in Europe, UK , Germany and France are the most favored destinations.
  7. Today’s Chinese travelers are looking for comfort, activities and shopping opportunities whilst enjoying scenery and different cultures.

The problem with Finland has been and still seems to be that it is the Finns that do all the thinking for attracting Chinese visitors – though it should be the Chinese themselves. The Chinese that have visited or even lived in Finland know the attraction of Finland the best. Let’s summarize what thoughts and ideas we’ve shared with FCBC members that learnt from our Chinese members.

  • Finland itself is not a brand and the country is still relatively unknown – a little mysterious even – in China.
  • Chinese do not know what to see and experience in Finland. For example, they go to ski to Switzerland because they know they can ski there.
  • Chinese do not know what to buy in Finland. Shopping opportunities are one of the key attractions.
  • Some Chinese travelers are also interested in investment opportunities.
  • How is Finland different from other European countries? – Finland should offer something special to its visitors. Some ideas e.g. berry and mushroom picking, experiencing traditional Finnish summer cottage, swimming in a lake, hiking in clean nature etc.
  • High level of education, advanced society, developed hi-tech sector and Santa Claus support the brand building of Finland as clean & fresh, modern, yet memorable travel destination.

And then finally the challenge! What could be done in order to attract Chinese travelers to Finland?

Some thoughts and ideas:

  • Utilization of the Chinese social media.  More than 300 million Chinese use it.-Could we jointly make a marketing buzz for Finland? Maybe challenge students to create short videos about our country sponsored by travel companies and service providers? Videos could be published in youku.com or suchlike site.
  • Chinese love stories and sharing their experience. How could be boost the story telling and experience sharing in order to make Finland more attractive, interesting and exciting?
  • We should engage more Chinese in the improvement of Finland brand in China. Chinese students provide excellent pool of talents for insightful development of tourism activities and promotion. I challenge the students provide their insights and ideas to companies in forms on school assignments and thesises.
  • Radical actions should be taken in order to draw people’s attention and interest in vivid China. An FCBC member suggested we could follow the example of “Radical Design Week” held in Shanghai and create a concept of “Radical Tourism Week” and take it to different cities in China. For that we need someone to take the initiative and gather the radical ideas into one feasible concept. Who is it going to be? Volunteers?

These are just few ideas from a common woman inspired by resourceful FCBC members. Please, feel free to comment and add your ideas. Let’s take the “Brand Finland” to China and warmly welcome Chinese visitors to Finland that they eagerly want to see and experience!

Sources: Finnish Tourist Board (2012) www.mek.fi & The Guardian (2012) “Chinese to become biggest spenders as record numbers head overseas” www.guardian.co.uk

Picture: Helsinki South Harbour – taking the travelers across the Baltic Sea (www.portofhelsinki.fi)

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16 thoughts on “China’s next top travel destination – Finland!

      1. Hyvä artikkeli ja hieno analyysis!

        Suomessa asuvana kiinalaisena olen löytänyt, että ne matkatoimistot, jotka vievät kiinalaisia turisteja suomeen, ovat suurin osa kiinalaisten hallussa, ehkä yli 90%. Mutta onneksi, että turistit menevät ostoksille, hotelliin tai jne. Suomessa, näinhän Suomen BKT kasvaa 🙂

        Itse mietin joskus päin vastoin sitä, että olis kiva houkutella Suomalaisia Kiinaan matkustamaan 🙂

        你的中文写的不错 🙂

      2. 谢谢您的高论!Olet oikeassa siinä, että kiinalaiset dominoivat Kiinan matkailumarkkinoita. He osaavat kommunikoida kiinan kielellä ja paketoida palvelunsa juuri kiinalaisten matkustajien tarpeiden ja kiinnostusten mukaisesti. Olisi kiva kuitenkin nähdä enemmän myös suomalaista otetta matkailubisneksessä, joten tässä olisi hyvä yhteistyön paikka suomalaisten ja kiinalaisten matkapalvelujen tarjoajilla.

        Ja kyllä, suomalaisten tulisi matkustaa Kiinaan! Siellä on todella paljon nähtävää ja koettavaa. On kaupunkielämää. rantalomakohteita, aavikkoa, sokeritoppavuoristoa, vähemmistökansoja, ah ja ruokaa, ruokaa ja lisää ruokaa! 😉

        Lopuksi kommenttina, että sinun suomen kieli on erinomaista! 挺好!

  1. Löysin äsken “about the writer” sivusta, että oot kiinaan erikoistuva entrepreneur. Mahtava! Näihän ei ihme, ett kirjoitat aina artikkeleja kiinasta 🙂 Itse mäkin oon bisneksesta kiinnostunut paitsi suomen kieltä, vaikkei mulla ole paljon bisnestaitoa 🙂 onko hommasi hankala? tekeekä firmasi myös IT projektejä kiinalaisten kans? IT ammattilaisena oon kans siitä enemmän kiinnostunut 🙂

    1. Kiitos kannustuksesta! Hommani on kiinnostavaa, hauskaa ja toisinaan haasteellista, mutta se kuuluu asiaan. 😉 IT-projektit ovat olleet lähinnä suomalaisyritysten kanssa markkinoille menon suunnittelua ja kumppanihakuja. Teen yhteistyötä myös Kiinassa toimivien yritysten kanssa, joiden kanssa yhdessä rakennamme internet-ratkaisuja suomalaisyritysten markkinoinnin, myynnin ja viestinnän tueksi Kiinassa.

    2. Ja hei, piti vielä toivottaa sinulle tsemppiä ja onnea töihisi! Bisnestaito kehittyy tekemällä eli yrittäjänä toimiminen on kokoaikaista opiskelua. 🙂

      1. Kuulostaa erittäin kivalta ja mielenkiintoiselta! Onko tä muuten sivutyö, vai ootko kokopäiväisesti töissä oman firman homman parissa? ja

        你常有机会说中文么? 我说芬兰文的机会比较少,所以只能在网上练习芬兰文了:)

        Viimeks, haluaisin mainita, etten oo töissä tällä hetkellä vaan opiskelen koulussa 🙂 mut kiitos tsemppauksesta ja samoin sulle, tsemppiä töihisi 🙂

  2. Yritystoimintani on kokopäiväistä ja hommaa riittää 🙂

    我很幸运的因为有好多中国朋友我能练习我的汉语。还有我跟我中国的合作伙伴要用中文。

    好好学习,天天向上! 😉

  3. 非常好! 你也好勇敢,佩服你创业的勇气 🙂 Itse joskus mietin kans perustaa oman firman, mut sitten kun aattelen riskistä, ajatukseni on hiipunut taas 😀 Mut kun saan tutkintoni valmiiks ja sitten saan enemmän kokemusta elämästä ja töistä kai mietin uudestaan 🙂

    有机会该向你请教芬兰的文化跟比较深层次的芬兰文, oon asunut Suomessa jo reilu 9 vuotta, mut itse tuntuu vielä siltä, etten ymmärrä suomalaisten ajatuksesta, enkä kulttuurista vaikka osaan lapsellista tasoista suomea :/ hieman synkkä olo mulla on joskus, asialle ei voi mitään, maailma on tällaiseksi luotu,mut voin aloittaa itsestäni 🙂

  4. Hey Johanna, I am Ray. We have met in Beijing few years ago. Good to see that you are still in shape and working hard on your business. Keep walking brave and brilliant young woman!!! As what my daughter says, kids talk for fun: 加油努力为了人民币!!!:)

    1. Hi Ray, I am very happy to hear from you and receive your encouraging comments! Those words truely brightened my day. 🙂 Hope to meet you in Beijing next time I visit there. Your daughter is very smart and cute, give my best wishes to her too!! 🙂 身体健康,万事如意!

    1. Thank you Kari for you feedback! Have to study finterest.fi site and recommend it to my Chinese contacts too. 🙂

      Have a great summer!

      Best wishes,
      Johanna

  5. Finland has certainly emerged as the new top level destination for Chinese travelers, the country witnessed a record breaking number of air passengers in the year 2017, with more than 50,000 visitors flying to Finland through Alitrip, this number is further expected to increase to 600,000 in the coming year.

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