Overnight stays by tourists

Last updated 22/06/2020 - 16:07

The coronavirus crisis reflected on March accommodation statistics

The year 2020 started exceptionally but hit an unparalleled crisis in March. Global travel started a deep downward spiral in mid-March. January started with an increase of over ten per cent in overnight stays in Helsinki. Domestic demand in particular grew compared to the same period in the previous year. In February, the growth slowed down and foreign demand turned negative mainly due to a drop in Chinese demand. The coronavirus, which has since grown into a global pandemic, first impacted travel in China.

In March, demand collapsed and, depending on the country of origin, overnight stays dropped by up to 80 per cent in comparison with March 2019 with a difference of over 50 per cent being common. The crisis did not yet have its full impact on overnight stays in the first quarter of the year, although percentages of change in Uusimaa are in the double digits, except for Espoo. Overnight stays decreased by 15 per cent in Uusimaa – foreign overnight stays decreased by 19 per cent and domestic stays by 12 per cent.

The second quarter of the year will be crushing, with travel businesses all but stopped. The impact June has on the entire quarter, after two months of crisis, will be especially interesting. At the time of writing in mid-May, restrictions have already started to be lifted here and there and June should bring more opportunities for travel business.

Information about overnight stays is collected from accommodation businesses with a minimum of 20 beds or recreational vehicle parking spaces with electrical outlets. Other forms of accommodation, such as Airbnb or staying with friends and acquaintances, are not included in the statistics. The actual number of overnight stays is therefore clearly higher than the figures shown above.

Foreign tourists stay in Finland overnight particularly in the summer

The number of overnight stays by travellers has grown significantly over the past ten years. In Uusimaa, the relative number of travellers from Finland has grown the most. More so than Finns, international tourists conform to seasonal patterns, staying in Uusimaa in the July–September season in particular.