Car hire firms claim coronavirus prompts long-term rental boom in Helsinki

Month-long rentals are proving popular in the Finnish capital.

Car rental service desk (file photo). Image: Juha Kivioja / Yle

Car rental firms say they have seen a boost in demand during the emergency situation prompted by the coronavirus epidemic.

Hertz and Europcar say that rentals lasting more than a month immediately increased after the blockade of Uusimaa was lifted.

"Long-term rental has increased at least 50 percent and the growth is especially noticeable in the capital city region and Uusimaa," said Hertz Finland Managing Director Hannu Mikkonen.

Public transport services have been cut back in the Helsinki region as more people work from home and others avoid buses and trains if they do venture out.

Mikkonen says in the last few weeks his firm has rented out hundreds of cars for terms ranging from one to five months.

Europcar Managing Director Jussi Holopainen says his firm has seen a boost too.

"Compared to a year ago, demand has risen around 15-20 percent," said Holopainen. "The goal is to get at least a thousand cars rented out this summer."

Travel plans this summer have taken a beating, with many countries preventing or advising against international journeys. Airlines and ferry companies have reduced services even between locations that are allowing travel.

The has been an uptick in domestic tourism in response, with Finns looking to book traditional cottage holidays instead of international jaunts.

We covered travel during the coronavirus pandemic in our All Points North podcast.

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