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Report: Later start to school vacation could boost tourism revenues by €200m

A report commissioned by the economic affairs ministry claims that the travel industry loses more than 200 million euros as a result of the current school summer holiday schedule.

lapset laiturilla
Image: Nelli Nuora / Yle

A push to change the timing of school summer holidays in Finland has received new impetus following the release of a fresh report by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

The report recommends postponing the start of the school summer vacation by two weeks, which it says would increase employment and revenues in the travel industry.

According to the analysis, postponing the start of the school summer holiday could boost tourism sector revenues by some 219 million euros during the summer months. That would represent an annual increase of 2.5 percent and a seasonal rise of 9.3 percent.

Continentals holiday in August as Finnish schools open

It would also ensure that the sector would have access to some 1,300 employees during this time, the equivalent of a workforce boost of 1.6 percent. Overall the report suggested that income and employment in the tourism sector would grow throughout the summer months, but especially in August – when many Europeans are on holiday, but Finland now returns to work and school.

The consulting firm WSP Finland drew up the report, commissioned by Economic Affairs Minister Mika Lintilä as part of measures agreed by the government during its mid-term review in spring 2017.

The minister said that it is possible to draw clear conclusions from the report: the postponement of the start of summer holidays would promote competitiveness in the tourism sector. He added that the move would have a positive impact on revenues and employment in the industry and improve its prospects for wider development.

Holiday postponement to boost domestic tourism

“Postponing school holidays would have an especially positive impact on the growth in domestic tourism. In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of foreign visitors, but on the domestic side, the numbers have fallen behind considerably. By shifting the vacation start, we could extend the summer season for domestic tourism, which would also have a positive effect on the services offered to tourists from abroad,” Lintilä continued.

The WSP analysis indicated that August would become more important than July in terms of tourism revenues generated. However, looking more closely at individual sectors, pushing the summer break forward into June would most benefit catering services, where revenues would likely increase by 3.2 percent annually.

In August, revenues are expected to grow most in accommodation services, while personnel numbers would rise most in accommodation and passenger transportation services during the summer period.

“As a labour-intensive industry, increased tourism could have a major impact on even employment growth throughout the country. Tourism growth and development would also create jobs in areas where employment has otherwise been difficult. I hope that the results of the analysis will be more broadly discussed and that we return to the matter, at the latest during the next government formation talks,” Lintilä added.

Summer break from mid-June

The analysis was based on a survey of tourism industry firms and expert interviews as well as tourism and trend data.

It represents the first in-depth review of the possible effects on the tourism industry, the wider economy and employment of postponing the start of school summer holidays.

The report assumes that the summer vacation for elementary and upper secondary schools would be delayed by two weeks to begin in mid-June and would conclude at the end of August. This means that the spring semester would end on the last weekday of week 24 (15 June in 2018) compared to the last weekday in week 22 (1 June this year).

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