1. Trips abroad

1.1. Estonia and Sweden continue as favourites for Finns

In 2016, Finns made 8.2 million leisure trips abroad. The number of trips with overnight stay in the country of destination was 6.1 million. Of them, 3.6 million were trips with at least four nights in the country of destination and 2.5 million were short trips with one to three nights. Cruises with overnight stays on board numbered good 1.1 million. The number of day trips abroad was slightly under one million. Of them, good half a million were day cruises to Estonia and 0.1 million to Sweden.

In 2016, a total of 2.4 million leisure trips were made to Estonia, which represented 29 per cent of all leisure trips. Trips were made to Estonia mostly in July, when the number of leisure trips to our southern neighbour rose to nearly 300,000. May and August were also popular months for travelling.

Sweden was the second most popular travel destination for Finns in our neighbouring areas with 1.7 million leisure trips. The favourite time to travel to Sweden was also in July. August and November were the second most popular months for travelling. In addition to leisure trips, Finns also travel to Sweden to meet relatives and friends. In 2016, these types of trips covered around 18 per cent of trips to Sweden.

Among the Nordic countries, Denmark also increased its popularity as a destination for Finns in 2016. Norway lost some of its popularity from the previous year.

A change occurred in travel to Russia in 2014, when the number of trips to our eastern neighbour declined considerably. However, travelling recovered in 2016, although the number of trips did not yet reach the level of 2013. Of leisure trips to Russia, 23 per cent were trips to meet relatives and friends in 2016.

1.2. Direction of travel in Central Europe shifted from west to east

Finnish residents have travelled to Central Europe usually more and more every year. However, the favourites Germany and France lost Finnish tourists in 2016. The number of trips to the United Kingdom increased slightly. In Eastern Europe both the Czech Republic and Poland continued their popularity among Finns, which had started in the previous year.

In total, 1.1 million leisure trips were made to the Mediterranean in Europe in 2016. In northern Mediterranean countries, the direction of Finnish tourists was clear. Compared with the year before, Finns moved from eastern Mediterranean to western coasts. Finns’ summer favourites, Greece and Turkey, both lost tourists. The number of trips in Turkey decreased by around one half from the previous year.

Spain is a long-time favourite of Finns, and it has been the third most popular destination for leisure trips for years. The year 2016 was no exception. Trips to Continental Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands grew from the year before.

Trips to the Canary Islands are mainly taken during the winter season but Continental Spain attracts Finnish travellers throughout the year. For a long time, the number of trips made to the Canary Islands and Continental Spain was more or less the same per year, but since 2012, trips to Continental Spain have outstripped those made to the Canary Islands.

Another favourite Northern Mediterranean country was Italy. Italy and Continental Spain covered nearly 60 per cent of the 1.1 million leisure trips to the Mediterranean.

The American continent became more popular in 2016 and there particularly the United States, where nearly 70 per cent of trips over the Atlantic were headed. By contrast, Asia's popularity was waning. However, the number of trips to the usual favourite Asian country, Thailand, went up.

1.3. Taking a boat abroad

Altogether 3.7 million various leisure trips were made abroad by boat last year, which is more or less the same as one year before. Of all leisure trips abroad, 45 per cent were made on boats. Of the trips made by boat, 99 per cent were made to Estonia or Sweden.

In 2016, Finns made 1.9 million trips with overnight stay in the destination country where a boat was used as the means of travel. Compared with 2015, the number of these trips grew somewhat. A total of 1.1 million overnight cruises and 0.6 million day cruises were made.

Of the leisure trips made to Estonia, 99 per cent were made by boat. Of the leisure trips made to Sweden, 74 per cent were made by boat, 10 per cent by air, and 16 per cent by passenger car.

Finns went on overnight cruises most in November and on day cruises in December. When one or several nights were spent in the destination country, the trip was usually made in July to August.

Nearly every third had their own car when travelling to Estonia and every fifth when going to Sweden. In Estonia, every ninth travelled with their travelling package tour bus.

Number of leisure trips abroad made by boat by month in 2016

Number of leisure trips abroad made by boat by month in 2016

1.4. Number of business trips abroad went up from the previous year

In 2016, business and professional trips abroad involving overnighting in the destination country numbered 1.8 million. The highest numbers of business trips abroad with overnight stays were made to Sweden, Estonia and Germany. Business trips to Sweden numbered 340,000 while 250,000 of them were made to Estonia and 200,000 to Germany.

During 2016, a total of 180,000 work-related day trips abroad were made. In addition, 100,000 work-related cruises abroad were made.


Source: Finnish Travel, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Taru Tamminen 029 551 2243, Teemu Okkonen 029 551 2634, liikenne.matkailu@stat.fi

Director in charge: Mari Ylä-Jarkko


Updated 29.3.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Finnish Travel [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-9027. 2016, 1. Trips abroad . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 20.3.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/smat/2016/smat_2016_2017-03-29_kat_001_en.html