Travel Behaviors of Finnish Travelers Revealed

Street food in Athens, Greece

A recent tourism survey studied travel behaviors of Finnish travelers, revealing what Finns are looking for while traveling and what kind of experiences they are interested in.

According to the tourism survey conducted by the Matka Nordic Travel Fair in 2019, traveling Finns are particularly interested in relaxing, and experiencing local culture and everyday life, rather than staying in and around their hotel. They also find local shops more interesting than large shopping centers or shopping opportunities at their hotels. Some 62% of the respondents said that they prefer to visit lesser-known places over popular tourist destinations, and 75% said they prefer to eat at street-food establishments rather than in famous restaurants.

People primarily travel for rest and relaxation, and more than 60% of the respondents prefer holiday trips that last for more than one week. Some 84% of the respondents prefer to keep their work and holiday trips separate, instead of combining them.

“At the moment, Finns are particularly interested in experiencing local culture. This shows, for example, in them shopping at local shops and markets. Everyday experiences, local customs, and food at street kitchens and small restaurants – these are the things that Finns want when traveling”, says Anne Lahtinen, research manager at Kantar TNS.

When traveling, the majority of Finns favor local service providers, such as hotels and restaurants. Many also reduce the tourism load on destinations by traveling outside the busiest season. Indeed, Finnish tourists are responsible and follow instructions, and respect the customs of the local culture.

Responsibility in air travel, in the form of buying carbon credits, has only recently gained ground. Only 9% of the respondents said that they had bought carbon credits for their flights. More information is needed, as 18% of the respondents to the same question said that they do not know whether they have paid for carbon credits for their flights.

Neither has the information about the new EU-wide package-travel regulation, which came into force in July 2018, really impressed itself on traveling Finns yet. Approximately 60% of the respondents had not previously heard about or couldn’t say if they had heard about the legislation regarding travelers’ rights. However, awareness has increased, as the previous year’s figure was 79%.

“With the new package-travel legislation, both the EU and national legislators have aimed to extend economic and contractual protection to cover more and more travelers and trips. The tourism industry has been actively involved in this development so that travelers can make informed decisions when buying trips. In this sense, it is unfortunate that as many as 55% of the respondents do not believe that the travel-package legislation affects their travel reservation habits, or are not interested in the matter or have no opinion on it”, says Heli Mäki-Fränti, managing director at the Association of Finnish Travel Agents, AFTA.

The travel decisions and travel inspiration of Finnish people are most influenced by the travel experiences of friends or acquaintances. The second most important inspiration for travel is the advertisements of tour operators, airlines and hotels. Women, in particular, received inspiration from a variety of different sources. Young people under 25 years of age were inspired by their friends’ updates and images on the social media, and one-third of the respondents got their travel inspiration from content they saw on social media channels, such as Instagram photographs, blogs or YouTube videos.

For the most part, the decision about a leisure trip is made by the travelers themselves. The older people become, the more they listen to their spouses or partners when making travel decisions. Women more often than men make travel decisions themselves, or by listening to their parents or children, while men more often adapt to decisions made by their spouse or partner.

Source: Messukeskus Helsinki