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1. Trips abroad

1.1. Travel to Estonia dropped drastically

In 2018, Finns made 8.2 million leisure trips abroad. The number of trips with overnight stay in the country of destination was 6.4 million. Of them, 4.2 million were trips with at least four nights in the country of destination and 2.3 million were short trips with one to three nights. Cruises with overnight stay on board numbered around one million. The number of day trips abroad was under one million. Of them, around 0.4 million were day cruises to Estonia and 0.1 million to Sweden.

In 2018, a total of 1.9 million leisure trips were made to Estonia, which represented 23 per cent of all leisure trips. The number of leisure trips to Estonia decreased heavily for the first time, because around one-fifth fewer trips were made to Estonia than in the year before. Trips were made to Estonia mostly in July, when the number of leisure trips to our southern neighbour rose to 230,000. June and April were also popular months for travelling.

Sweden was the second most popular travel destination for Finns in our neighbouring areas with 1.6 million leisure trips. Trips to Sweden were preferably made in July. October, June and August were the second most popular months for travelling. In addition to leisure trips, Finns also travel to Sweden to meet relatives and friends. In 2018, these types of trips covered around 20 per cent of leisure trips to Sweden.

A change occurred in travel to Russia in 2014, as the number of trips to our eastern neighbour declined considerably. Although travelling has recovered slightly in recent years, the numbers of trips have not, however, reached the level of 2013. In 2018, a total of 0.4 million leisure trips were made to Russia. Of these trips, 31 per cent were trips to meet relatives and friends.

Leisure trips to Estonia in 2012 to 2018

Leisure trips to Estonia in 2012 to 2018

1.2. Travelling to Southern Europe increased despite the hot summer

Finnish residents have travelled to Central Europe usually more and more every year. In 2018, Finnish residents made 1.3 leisure trips to Eastern and Western Europe, which is somewhat lower than one year earlier. However, trips appeared to centre on old favourite countries.

In total, 1.3 million leisure trips were made to the Mediterranean in Europe in 2018.

Spain is a long-time favourite of Finns, and it has been the third most popular destination for leisure trips for years. Trips to the Canary Islands increased from the previous years, the popularity of Continental Spain remained at the same level as in 2017.

Trips to the Canary Islands are mainly taken during the winter season but Continental Spain attracts Finnish travellers throughout the year. For a long time, the number of trips made to the Canary Islands and Continental Spain was more or less the same per year, but since 2012, trips to Continental Spain have outstripped those made to the Canary Islands.

Other popular northern Mediterranean countries were Italy, Greece and Croatia. Trips to Turkey also grew after a few of years’ decline.

The popularity of long-distance travel rose slightly in 2018 and the number of trips to Asia grew.

1.3. Good one third of trips abroad are made on a boat

Last year 3.0 million various leisure trips were made abroad by boat, which is 18 per cent lower than one year before. Of all leisure trips abroad, 37 per cent were made on boats. Of the trips made by boat, 99 per cent were made to Estonia or Sweden.

In 2018, Finns made 1.6 million trips with overnight stay in the destination country where a boat was used as the means of travel. Compared with 2017, the number of these trips declined considerably. One million overnight cruises and 0.5 million day cruises were made. The number of cruises also decreased from the previous year. The number of trips to Estonia contracted by one fifth from the previous year and this decrease in trips to Estonia was directly visible as a fall in leisure trips abroad made by boat.

Of the leisure trips made to Estonia, 98 per cent were made by boat. Of the leisure trips made to Sweden, 68 per cent were made by boat, 11 per cent by air, and 19 per cent by passenger car.

Finns went on overnight cruises most in February and on day cruises in April. When one or several nights were spent in the destination country, the trip was usually made in July.

Nearly every third had their own car when travelling to Estonia and every fourth when going to Sweden. One in ten went to Estonia with a travelling party's bus.

Number of leisure trips abroad made by boat by month in 2018

Number of leisure trips abroad made by boat by month in 2018

1.4. Number of business trips abroad went up from the previous year

In 2018, business and professional trips abroad involving overnighting in the destination country numbered 2.1 million. The highest numbers of business trips abroad with overnight stays were made to Sweden, Germany and Estonia. Business trips to Sweden numbered 390,000 while 190,000 of them were made to Germany and 130,000 to Estonia.

During 2018, a total of 240,000 work-related day trips abroad were made.

Source: Finnish Travel, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Taru Tamminen 029 551 2243, Ossi Nurmi 029 551 2984,

Director in charge: Mari Yl-Jarkko

Updated 28.3.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Finnish Travel [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-9027. 2018, 1. Trips abroad . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 20.4.2024].
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