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 2022
Finland interests in the US both as winter and summer destination. In Q2 / 2022, USA ranked as the biggest source market in all digital searches about Finland. The most searched tag words in the US related to Finland this year have been: Saunas, Santa Claus, Northern lights, Cities, Glass Cabins.
Although the awareness of Finland has been growing well in the US during this year, Finland is still behind the other Nordic destinations in awareness and overnights in the US (compared to Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark). There is a lot of untapped potential in this market for Finland and Finnish tourism service providers.
During the coming winter season, Finnair will operate nonstop flights to/from New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami (seasonal winter flight) and will launch again nonstop summer schedule flights to Chicago and Seattle. The available seat capacity from the US to Finland this winter will be around 26% bigger than in 2019.
Several major US tour operators are already selling Finland only winter packages (for example Kensington Tours, Collette, Abercrombie & Kent, Intrepid) 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 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. The project will continue in 2023 and it will include marketing and sales promotion as well as PR activities to promote the whole Nordics region in the US.
All in-person sales events and trade shows have made a comeback this year in North America. Visit Finland organized an event with Finnair in Dallas in March, with Visit Estonia in May, participated in Virtuoso Travel Week in August, ILTM North America in September and will participate The Nordics Roadshow together with Finnish suppliers in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles in October as well USTOA 2023 Conference and Marketplace in December. Additionally, we have organized and attended in many virtual events and webinars during the year. We also started with fam trips to Finland in May and so far, this year we have brought 38 travel industry buyers to Finland from North America.
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.
Based on Forward Keys Data, flight bookings from USA to Finland during November 2022 - February 2023 have already exceeded the number of winter season bookings before the pandemic. There is a lot of potential to increase the number of American winter travelers if suppliers are interested and have products and services relevant especially for the high-end segment 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 for 2023. 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 main 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.