The world has witnessed a significant shift in travel patterns due to the global pandemic. As countries grapple with the aftermath, the travel industry is undergoing a transformation, with safety and careful planning at the forefront.
Finland, known for its avid travelers, is no exception. The Finns’ travel fever remains high, and as we approach 2024, there are clear trends emerging about their preferred destinations and travel habits.
The Resurgence of Travel Fever
Several years of travel restrictions have only intensified the Finns’ desire to explore the world. According to a report from the Matka Nordic Travel Fair, Southern Europe remains the most sought-after destination. In 2022, travel to these regions saw a significant resurgence. Popular destinations include Greece, Croatia, Spain, and Portugal. Central Europe, especially Germany, and neighboring countries like Sweden and Estonia, are also on the list.
City holidays and train trips within Finland are gaining popularity. The emphasis on local travel has seen a rise in city holidays and train tourism. The Finnish Lakeland district is witnessing a surge in cottage tourism. Moreover, outdoor-focused travels and vacations involving motor homes and trailers are still trending, with interest levels even surpassing those of 2019.
International Adventures Await
Finns, who once frequently traveled to Thailand before the pandemic, are now setting their sights on South Asia. Countries like India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives are becoming favored destinations. However, the demand is still not expected to reach the levels seen in 2019.
Safety remains paramount. When it comes to choosing tour operators or travel service vendors, the primary concern for travelers is the assistance provided during problematic situations.
The global consciousness about responsible tourism is growing, and Finns are actively participating in this shift. A recent survey highlighted the importance of equality and human rights issues related to travel destinations. For many, the political and social conditions of a destination play a crucial role in their decision-making process. This heightened awareness was partly influenced by controversies surrounding events like the World Cup in Qatar.
Travelers are now more inclined towards supporting local economies. The use of local products and services, such as public transport, is becoming commonplace. Moreover, there’s a growing preference for authentic experiences that reflect the local culture, as opposed to the luxury that high-end hotels offer. Interestingly, 13% of travelers have started compensating for their air travel, indicating a shift towards more sustainable travel choices.
The Global Perspective
While the focus here is on Finnish travelers, it’s essential to understand the broader global travel trends. The U.S. Travel Association’s biannual forecast suggests a normalized growth rate in the domestic leisure travel sector. While the surge in travel demand post-pandemic is starting to moderate, the domestic leisure travel segment is expected to remain resilient.
Domestic leisure travel in the U.S. is predicted to see a growth rate of around 2% for both 2023 and 2024. On the other hand, international inbound travel is set to witness a growth of 31% in 2023 and 18% in 2024, driven by strong demand from markets like Canada and Brazil.
As we look ahead to 2023 and 2024, it’s evident that the travel landscape is evolving. For Finns, the desire to explore remains undiminished, but there’s a clear emphasis on safety, responsibility, and sustainability. Whether it’s exploring the scenic landscapes of Southern Europe, embarking on train journeys within Finland, or seeking authentic experiences in distant lands, the Finnish traveler is all set to make the most of the upcoming years.