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Lapland fills up at Easter with Finnish tourists – travel agency: “There have been inquiries, no cancellations” – Finland

Movement restrictions are hardly still in place at Easter. During the ski holidays, almost half of Lapland’s corona infections were detected by tourists.

A large number of Finnish tourists are also heading to Lapland at Easter, as they did before during the corona winter last week. According to the tourism operators interviewed by STT, for example, cottages and holiday apartments in Lapland are largely occupied during Easter.

– All in all, it’s really busy. We have about a thousand properties in Lapland, of which there are only a few dozen available at Easter, says the CEO of Lomarengas Oy to STT Juha-Pekka Olkkola.

Levi and Ylläs are also told that the cottages and holiday apartments are almost full. According to travel companies, calls from the government and health authorities to avoid traveling at Easter have not translated into increased cancellations. The government also decided to propose movement restrictions, but they were unlikely to take effect for Easter.

– There have been inquiries, no cancellations, Olkkola says.

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There is still room in Lapland’s resorts, especially in hotels. There is also plenty of space in Rovaniemi.

– This is a quiet time for us, and of course it is a pity, because Lapland has a wonderful winter and great weather, says Visit Rovaniemi’s CEO Sanna Kärkkäinen.

– Domestic growth is not visible to us. This is probably because we are not a traditional ski resort.

Tourists behaved mostly responsibly

Although several corona infections have been reported among tourists in Lapland during the holidays, the corona situation in the area has not been severely eroded as a result.

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During the ski holidays, almost half of the infections diagnosed in Lapland were among tourists, says STT’s chief physician of infectious diseases in Lapland’s hospital district. Markku Broas. However, according to him, further infections came mainly from people working in the tourism industry in Levi.

– There was one bigger mass exposure, but also other separate infections. As a rule, no other large mass exposures were generated, and no large chains of infection or further infections were seen elsewhere, which means that the ski holiday weeks went well, Broas tells STT.

In the Lapland Hospital District, the guidelines for tourism have been kept the same as before Christmas and ski holidays. Visit Levi’s CEO Yrjötapio Kivisaari trusts that the holiday in Lapland will also be safe at Easter.

– As long as you stay in your own travel bubble and leave only healthy, move outside and do not go to any parties or organize any parties in the holiday rooms, it is safe to come here on holiday, Kivisaari estimates.

Both tourism companies and Chief Medical Officer Broas praise Finnish tourists for behaving mostly responsibly.

“For the most part, people have realized that their own behavior and actions can prevent the spread of infections,” says Broas.

According to him, the functioning testing system in Lapland is also due to the fact that the infections have not got worse.

– We do a lot of tests, and Levi, for example, has several test points open all week, and the test result can be obtained in as little as 15-30 minutes. That is one of the reasons why the situation has been considered good: information about the disease has been obtained quickly, so that tracing work can be started immediately.

Individual cottages difficult to control

In Levi, the exposure chain of a large rental cottage called Villa Guru, which was announced by the Lapland Hospital District earlier in March, attracted attention. Director of the Lapland Hospital District Jari Jokelan there is a risk that new clusters of infection will also emerge during Easter if those renting cottage premises do not follow the instructions of the regional government agencies.

– There is a risk if the instructions and recommendations are not followed. I would not say that I’m worried about, but can not fully worries it is to be about the fact Jokela comments.

There is no easy way to completely avoid wrinkles in private rented premises. According to Jokela, it is difficult to monitor compliance with the corona instructions of private cottage renters.

In the ski resorts, the ski has slipped into the Korona era, in the restaurants a catastrophic situation

The winter season, which was lived under the crown as a whole, has treated Lapland’s tourism entrepreneurs in two ways.

– The booking situation for hotels has been bad, the situation in restaurants has been catastrophic. Transport companies have also suffered and to some extent also rental companies. People have often brought their own tools so that they have been able to avoid queuing, Kivisaari says.

The situation has also been particularly bad for program service entrepreneurs who have targeted their offerings to foreign tourists.

– Many people have had to experience that nothing is sold at all.

Instead, ski resorts and resorts, for example, have attracted people well.

– Domestic demand has been a positive surprise, but it is not enough to offset international demand, says Visit Ylläs’ CEO Janne-Juhani Haarma.

– Lapland’s tourism revenue was about one billion euros in 2019. Yes, hundreds of millions will certainly be lost as a result of this situation, even though the situation in tourist centers has been positive.

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