We have collected current information, future prospects and other useful material from the US as a tourism market for the Finnish tourism industry. The English language market review is updated twice a year.
Updated March 2023
Finland interests in the US both as winter and summer destination. During 2022, USA ranked as one of the TOP 3 source markets in all digital searches about Finland. The most searched tag words in the US related to Finland have been: Saunas, Santa Claus, Cities and Glass Cabins.
Although the awareness of Finland has been growing well in the US during 2022 and early 2023 for many reasons, Finland is still behind the other Nordic destinations in awareness and overnights from the US (compared to Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark). Unfortunately Russia's attack in Ukraine is impacting both tour operators' and end customers' views about travel to Finland, especially with baby boomer target groups. Despite this, there is a lot of untapped potential in this market for Finland and Finnish tourism service providers (see more in section 5).
During the coming summer season, Finnair will operate nonstop flights to/from New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and Seattle. The available seat capacity from the US to Finland this summer will be +3% compared to 2019.
Several major US tour operators are already selling Finland only winter packages, but we do not yet have many Finland only packages for summer season. However, there is now interest in adding also Finland summer mono destination tours by some tour operators and Visit Finland is actively working on promoting summer season in all four regions and we are expecting to see some new winter tours for the winter 2023 - 2024 and new summer tour production launched for summer 2024, some potentially already fall 2023.
Around 40 tour operators have traditionally been selling Finland as part of a Nordic or Baltic and/or Russia tour. Visit Finland aims to support the North American tour operators the best we can with our resources in case they need advise how to design new tours including Finland.
A joint Reboot Nordic Tourism - project together with Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland and Faroe Islands was launched during spring 2022 in the US and continues in 2023. The activities will include marketing and sales promotion as well as PR activities to promote the whole Nordics region in the US.
In 2023 Visit Finland will be active in organising and participating in sales events in North America: Visit Finland & Visit Estonia Roadshow in April, Adventure Elevate event in May, Virtuoso Travel Week in August, Nordics Roadshow in September and USTOA Conference and Marketplace in December. Additionally, we are promoting Finland in virtual events and as panelists in webinars during the year. Several fam trips to Finland are being planned for 2023 with the goal to bring approximately 40 buyers from North America to Finland this year.
Visit Finland has also 2-4 joint promotional campaigns with selected operators planned in the US during 2023.
The northern lights, nature, happiness, saunas and lakes interest in the US. As sauna and Finnish sauna culture is the only USP that we can clearly take ownership of, we should continue incorporating sauna in our messaging, designed so that it appeals to the Americans. None of USP's alone drive decision making when American traveler is making a decision to travel to Finland, but they all complement each others. Finnish Lapland is seen as a great northern lights destination option compared to Alaska, Iceland and Norway. It is also important to remember to emphasize the extraordinary accommodation options and the great infrastructure Finland has, especially in the north compared with other arctic areas. Experiencing nature, the lakes, archipelago and midnight sun or white nights and learning about the local culture and history interest when considering travel to Finland in the summer. Finland's ranking as the happiest country has also greatly increased the awareness of Finland in the US in all traveler segments. Currently high end travelers are our focus segment, because there is a lot of potential still, but also mid and low budget travel can be expected to grow.
Finland is seen as a sustainable travel destination by those who know the country, but we still have a lot of work to promote Finland in the US. More and more travelers now are interested in visiting destinations and buying from businesses that operate sustainably. American travelers want to support local businesses.
It is also good to remember, that Finland is a great stopover destination when traveling with Finnair from the US to Europe via Helsinki.
The overnights from US were only -12 % in 2022 compared to 2019 and based on ForwardKeys flight booking data, we expect the overnights in 2023 summer season to be close to 2019 level, although still not exceeding the pre pandemic overnights. The main reason for this being that some big tour operators with traditional Nordic and Baltic multi country group tours for baby boomers, which is a major traveler segment in the US, have cut back production to Finland and the Baltics due to Ukraine war.
Despite this, there is a lot of potential to increase the number of American travelers in FIT and small group high end segments, especially with millennials and Gen X target groups, if suppliers are interested in those segments and have products and services relevant especially for the high-end travelers available.
Some of the major tour operators in the high-end segment have expressed interest to increase Finland production or add Finland to their portfolio already this year. However, some operators, who are selling to baby boomers only, are waiting to see how the security situation in Europe develops before making decisions.
Besides winter season in Lapland, also Helsinki and Southern Finland during summer season interest. Helsinki - Lakeland - Archipelago self-drive tours could be potential in the future as well as Helsinki - Lakeland and Helsinki - Archipelago slow travel packages. Further developed sauna + wellbeing packages could entice the American high-end travelers.
When designing products and packages, it is important to keep in mind, that 55+ is still the segment from the US, although millennials' travel is growing in the future. The 55 + are often still very active but not necessarily used to spending time outdoors or in the nature as much we Finns are, so it is important to design "soft adventures" that are not too demanding. Overseas family travel and multigenerational travel are expected to grow as soon as it is considered safe for children to travel due to the pandemic. Honeymooners is also an interesting niche segment.
DMC's and incoming agencies continue to be vital in the US market as most tour operators do not contract directly with suppliers in Finland.