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Published: 30 May 2012

Finnish residents' trips abroad increased in 2011

In 2011, Finnish residents made nearly 4.3 million such leisure trips abroad that involved staying overnight in the destination country. The number increased by eight per cent from 2010. The number of domestic leisure trips with paid accommodation was slightly lower than in the previous year, being nearly 5.8 million. The number went down by two per cent from 2010. Business trips in Finland and abroad continued to grow after the downturn in 2009.

Finnish travel 2000–2011

Finnish travel 2000–2011

Trips abroad

In 2011, leisure trips abroad with at least one overnight stay in the destination country numbered 4,293,000. Estonia was clearly the most popular destination. Approximately one trip in four, or a total of 1,020,000 million trips were headed to Estonia. The second highest number of trips was made to Spain and the third highest to Sweden. The trips to Spain numbered 599,000 and those to Sweden 378,000. In absolute numbers, the trips made to Spain grew most, by 219,000 trips. The number of trips to the Canary Islands was now 67 per cent higher than one year previously. Around one-half of the trips to Spain were headed to the Canary Islands. Trips with overnight stay in Estonia increased by 120,000 from 2010. In contrast, trips with overnight stay in Sweden decreased by 81,000. The number of trips to Greece nearly doubled from 2010. Among the top ten destination countries, the popularity of France, the UK, Germany and Turkey also went up. Of the most popular countries, Russia and Italy attracted fewer Finnish residents in 2011 than in the year before. The number of trips to Portugal, Thailand and Egypt fell clearly. Leisure travelling to Eastern and Central Europe went down by 20 per cent.

The popularity of long-distance destinations continued to fall. Around ten per cent fewer leisure trips to other continents were made than one year before. In 2011, 123,000 trips were made to Far Asia.Trips to Thailand numbered 194,000, and decreased by some 15 per cent from 2010. The total number of trips to the American continent was slightly higher than to Thailand. Three out of four trips to America, 75,000, were made to the United States. The United States is one of the few long-distance destinations to which trips increased from the previous year.

In addition to the leisure trips involving staying overnight in the destination country, Finnish residents made nearly 1.6 million leisure cruises in 2011. This is ten per cent more than in 2010. Cruises are trips that only include staying overnight on board; visits can be made ashore but without overnight stays there. At least two out of three leisure cruises, or around one million, were made to Sweden. A total of 496,000 leisure cruises were headed to Estonia.

During 2011, Finnish residents also made 803,000 same-day leisure trips abroad (incl. same-day cruises). The number of outbound same-day trips went up by 15 per cent from the previous year. According to the survey, 575,000 same-day trips were headed to Estonia, all of which were made by sea, and 172,000 same-day trips to Sweden, one half of which were made by land and one half by sea.

Finnish residents’ favourite destination countries for leisure trips with overnight stays in 2011 and compared with 2010

Finnish residents’ favourite destination countries for leisure trips with overnight stays in 2011 and compared with 2010

In 2011, business and professional trips abroad involving overnighting in the destination country numbered 1.2 million. The number of business trips abroad grew by 12 per cent from 2010. The highest numbers of business trips abroad with overnight stays were made to Sweden, Estonia, Germany and Russia. The number of business trips was 233,000 to Sweden, 149,000 to Estonia, 110,000 to Germany and 109,000 to Russia. The business trips to Sweden increased by 16 per cent and those to Estonia by 37 per cent. The business trips to Russia more than doubled.

Work-related same-day trips made during 2011 numbered 161,000, or five per cent more than in 2010. A total of 140,000 work-related cruises were made abroad, which is 45 per cent more than in the year before.

Trips in Finland

In 2011, 5.8 million leisure trips were made in Finland during which paid accommodation services, such as hotels, camping sites or rented cottages were used. The number contracted by two per cent, or by 110,000 trips from 2010.

The most popular destination regions for the trips involving paid accommodation were Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa, Lapland and North Ostrobothnia. The trips to Uusimaa numbered 949,000, or 16 per cent of all trips with paid accommodation. Slightly more than every tenth trip was made to Pirkanmaa, Lapland, North Ostrobothnia and Varsinais-Suomi.

The number of nights spent during leisure trips involving paid accommodation totalled 15.4 million, which was two per cent down from 2010. One half of the overnight stays were hotel trips and one quarter trips to rented free-time residences.

In addition, 5.9 million overnight trips were made in Finland to own free-time residences and 19.4 million overnight visiting trips to relatives or friends. The trips to free-time residences grew by five per cent and the trips to visit relatives or friends by two per cent from the previous year.

In 2011, clearly the highest number of the trips to free-time residences was made to Etelä-Savo and the second highest to Varsinais-Suomi. Such trips numbered 744,000 to Etelä-Savo and 586,000 to Varsinais-Suomi. Of the trips to visit friends or relatives, 3.7 million were headed to Uusimaa and 1.9 million to Pirkanmaa.

A total of 4.4 million business trips with overnight stays were made in Finland in 2011. Domestic business trips increased by 14 per cent from 2010.

These data derive from Statistics Finland's Finnish Travel sample survey. In all, 16,920 persons aged 15 to 74 permanently resident in Finland were interviewed for the numbers of trips.

Persons having travelled

The data on persons having travelled were obtained by an inquiry made in connection with the Labour Force Survey. The inquiry is very concise and in addition to personal background information, it only includes questions on whether the target person had made certain types of trips during the survey year. The data describing 2011 are based on 1,707 interviews. The number of persons having travelled has remained fairly stable from one year to the next.

During 2011, 3.6 million, or 90 per cent of Finnish residents aged 15 to 74, made at least one trip that included an overnight stay. Included are all domestic and outbound trips, as well as trips to free-time residences, visits to friends and relatives, and business trips. As many as 96 per cent of those living in the Helsinki region made some trip with overnight stay. The level of education had an impact on how actively people travel, because 96 per cent of those with tertiary level education made a trip with overnight stay. Ten per cent of the population did not make any trip with overnight stay outside their usual environment during 2011.

In 2011, 1.9 million Finnish residents aged 15 to 74 made at least one leisure trip in Finland with paid accommodation. This is 47 per cent of all those belonging to the age group. As many made at least one leisure trip abroad which involved staying overnight in the destination country.

Nearly every fourth Finnish resident aged 15 to 74, or nearly 0.9 million persons, made a business trip in Finland which involved staying overnight or a business trip abroad during which night was spent in the destination country.

Notes to the appendix tables

Data on 2010 and 2011 are not fully comparable with those on earlier years due to the revised data collection method.

[..] Data not available or too uncertain for presentation.
[  ] No observations in the survey.

In some tables the sums do not amount to the totals shown because of rounding.

Source: Finnish Travel, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Mervi Härkönen 09 1734 3254,

Director in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Appendix tables

Updated 30.5.2012

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Finnish Travel [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-9027. 2011. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 17.4.2024].
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