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Helsinki breaks all-time tourist record – 3.6 million overnight stays

Despite the continuing downward trend of travelers from Russia staying in the capital city, Helsinki topped its previous visitor record in 2016 by 3.3 percent.

Slush-tapahtuma Messukeskuksessa.
SLUSH was a huge hit in '16. Image: Kalevi Rytkölä / Yle

More people than ever before visited the city of Helsinki and stayed there overnight last year, according to tourist marketing firm Visit Helsinki.

A total of 3.6 million overnight stays by people from elsewhere were registered, which is 3.3 percent more than in 2014. Some 54 percent of the visitors were from abroad.

Work commuting trips increased by more than leisure travel. The busiest months in 2016 were July and August, the height of the Finnish summer.

The biggest proportion of visitors came from the United States. People from the US stayed in Helsinki 17,000 days longer in 2016 than in 2015. Japanese tourists also came calling 5 percent more than the previous year, even though their proportion of tourism in other European cities has been declining.

Russian tourism has been slightly increasing since last August. Even so, Russians stayed overnight in Helsinki 8 percent less in 2016 than the previous year.

CEO Tuulikki Becker of Visit Helsinki says that the Russian stats will remain the same this year, but those figures will no longer decline.

Visit Helsinki estimates that the Finnish capital's hotels will be booked to capacity this year, too. Events that will likely draw more people in this year include the figure skating world championships in March-April, the National Skills Competition 2017 in May, and the summertime hits of Helsinki Day (Jun 12) and the Flow music festival (Aug 11-13).

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