Finland's Christmas tourism boom creates headwinds for environment

WION Web Team Helsinki, Western Finland, Finland Dec 24, 2019, 06.17 PM(IST)

File photo: Santa Claus Photograph:( Others )

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Finland tourism boom faces backlash as the environmental implications in the vulnerable Arctic region impacts indigenous Sami people.

Santa Claus village on the Arctic Circle is about as close to a real-life Christmas card scene as it's possible to get.

In search of an authentic Christmas experience record numbers of holidaymakers are now visiting Finland's northern Lapland region in winter creating headwinds for the environment.

Finland tourism boom faces backlash as the environmental implications in the vulnerable Arctic region impacts indigenous Sami people.

New tourism records in Lapland are set every passing winter break, Lapland tourism is now catching on in lucrative new markets.

Managing Director of Visit Rovaniemi, Sanna Karkkainen, said that different travellers groups have big differences in what activities they indulge in.

"We see big differences in what activities the different customer groups like to do here. Dog-sledding and longer hikes are popular with French visitors, for example, British travellers are especially interested in snowmobiles, and the Asian tourists are most keen on seeing the Northern Lights," said Karkkainen.

'Mass tourism' is a growing concern for residents, as European visitors stayed for an all-time high of 3 million nights in 2018.

Heavy emissions are the cost of flying to the arctic. Scientists have announced that the Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the global average.