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Record 3m overnight stays in Lapland last year

Growth in Lapland tourism in 2018 was largely due to foreign visitors, according to Finland's statistics agency.

Rovaniemi topped the charts for overnight stays in 2018. Image: Esko Jämsä / AOP

Foreign visitors are credited with boosting tourism to Lapland in 2018, according to figures published by Statistics Finland on Monday.

Overnight stays by foreigners accounted for a six percent increase in 2018 over the previous year. British and French visitors topped the list, while overnight stays by domestic travellers remained the same compared to 2017.

Lapland’s busiest season has traditionally been December, and last year was no exception with 490,000 overnight stays recorded, which represents a five percent increase from December 2017.

Across the entire country, including Finnish Lapland, there were 1.4 percent more overnight bookings in 2018 than in 2017, reaching a total of 22 million overnight stays.

Topping the list

The most hotel rooms were booked in Rovaniemi, where hotel room occupancy was at 91 percent in December 2018, which represents a 0.9 percentage point increase over the previous December.

Hotels in Inari and Kittilä were also in high demand in December 2018 with a 76 percent occupancy rate.

However, the actual figures for overnight stays in Lapland are likely higher than those reported by Statistics Finland as the number crunching agency did not include private rental cabins or Airbnb figures in their totals.