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Current information about USA tourism

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 October 2023

Finland's position in the market

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.

According to Border survey Summer 2023 (Jun-Aug), besides Finland's neighboring countries, USA was among the top source markets. US visitors were also among top 2 with biggest figures in spending. Helsinki was clearly the main travel destination during summer.

During January – August 2023, overnights from US developed positively compared to 2019. From the main source markets, only USA performed better (+27% with 259 500 overnights) than in summer 2019

Although the awareness of Finland has been growing well in the US 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). So, there is a lot of untapped potential in this market for Finland and Finnish tourism service providers.

During the past summer season, Finnair operated nonstop flights to/from New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and Seattle. The available seat capacity from the US to Finland was +3% compared to 2019.

Consumer trends and behavior

TRENDS

  • Wellbeing, culinary experiences and authentic experiences are trending
  • There is now more interest on nature experiences, less populated areas and wide-open spaces than before the pandemic.
  • Sustainable travel is a growing trend also in the US.


CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

  • FIT has been growing, also long haul.
  • Main travel segment 55+ but also millennial segment is growing, especially in high end category.
  • Baby Boomers are more cautious than other travelers with travel to regions close to Russia.
  • About 50% of the travelers in the US book through traditional sales channels such as tour operator and travel advisors.
  • Americans use much more travel advisor's services than consumers in other markets and therefore travel advisors, travel agencies and consortias are important btob partners.
  • Especially luxury category travels with tailor made itineraries designed by their travel advisor.
  • Other half of the travelers use OTA's and other digital booking platforms to book their trips. Many North American travelers use different online platforms to search information and to book travel. Some of the relevant online booking platforms in the US are Expedia Group platforms, Priceline, Kiwi.com and Hopper.
  • In the US sightseeing and visiting many countries during one holiday is still dominating unless the destination can offer something so unique that it is seen worth of a mono destination trip.
  • The Northern Lights product taps to that. We should also create a unique offering around the Midnight Sun experience.
  • During the pandemic there has been more interest in mono destination trips due to the complexity of travel with varying restrictions in different countries.
  • American travelers expect good service in the destination
  • Good communication in general is very important with American travelers and it is always better to overcommunicate than communicate too little. It is also important to use native proofreaders for website texts

Industry update and distribution channels

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.

Around 40 tour operators have traditionally been selling Finland as part of a Nordic or Baltic 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 include marketing and sales promotion as well as PR activities to promote the whole Nordics region in the US.

In 2023 Visit Finland has been active in organising and participating in sales events in North America: Visit Finland & Visit Estonia Roadshow took place in April, Adventure Elevate event in May, Virtuoso Travel Week in August, Nordics Roadshow in September and USTOA Conference and Marketplace will be in December. Additionally, we are promoting Finland in virtual events and as panelists in webinars during the year. Several fam trips to Finland took place showcasing all the four regions. The results can been seen already now with new packages being developed by the hosted fam participants.

Visit Finland continues to execute joint promotional campaigns with selected operators.

Finland travel USP's

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.

Future outlook and upcoming season

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 booomers 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. 

USA as a source market

Read more about USA in Finnish

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