Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2014 - Page 16

Photo: Nina Kellokoski Destination: Finland? The Finnish Travel & Tourism sector is poised for a major breakthrough Lately, Finland has been a very hot topic in international discussion. The best-know museum brand in the world, Guggenheim, is keen on launching operations here – despite being turned down once already. And then in October, Google announced that it will double the size of its data center in Hamina – which, by the way, is the biggest single foreign investment in Finland to date. T uija Tommila and Hanna Lankinen from Invest in Finland know full-well that Finland has been the “talk of the town” for a while now, and Helsinki, for one, keeps placing on top in various ‘best cities in the world’ competitions. Still, Tommila and Lankinen insist that there’s at least one area which has been overlooked: travel and tourism. As it stands, the Finnish Travel and Tourism sector offers everything required for doing successful business: a dynamic business climate, a clean and unique environment, and a society that is both safe and internationalised. “Especially from the point of view of foreign investors, it is very important that the business environment is stable – and Finland, as one of the few remaining AAAranked countries in the EU, is exactly what the investors are looking for,” says Hanna Lankinen who serves as Senior Director at Invest in Finland. out that according to forecasts by the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC), the total demand for travel in Finland will grow by 33.7 percent between 2006 and 2016. “There is still a lot of untapped potential left in various areas,” she says, providing the numbers to back up the claim: right now, the travel sector comprises only 2.4 % of Finland’s GDP while the EU average is 6 %. Furthermore, the Finnish sector has been growing more rapidly than her counterparts in other Nordic countries recently. Lankinen and Tommila quickly run down the list – what is it that could make Finland the ‘Next Big Thing’ in travel? It all starts and ends with the unique and unspoilt nature with four distinct seasons. For example, Lapland with its many wonders is already making waves in the global television and movie industry: spectacular scenery, wonderful light and cost-effective locations have attracted the likes of BBC and NBC to shoot in Santa Claus Land. Going Up Investor Heaven?  The experts at Invest in Finland have cause for optimism, since the number of foreign visitors in Finland has increased significantly during recent years. Tuija Tommila, Director for Investment Consulting, points Finland also has the infrastructure in place which enables even big investments: easy transport connections to and from east, west and south are very i \ܝ[