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Published: 3 September 2020

Travelling by Finns halted in spring 2020

According to Statistics Finland's preliminary data, Finnish residents travelled in the first two months of the travel year 2020 in the same way as in previous years. During March the situation changed dramatically and in April Finnish residents' leisure trips stopped due to the coronavirus situation. In addition, 1.4 million trips abroad and 0.8 million domestic trips with paid accommodation, for which reservations had been made before the restrictions set in March due to the pandemic, were cancelled or postponed in the April to September period for Finnish residents.

Leisure trips in January to April 2012 to 2020* (excl. domestic same-day trips and trips with free accommodation)

Leisure trips in January to April 2012 to 2020* (excl. domestic same-day trips and trips with free accommodation)

Trips were made in January of the travel year 2020 similarly as in the previous years. In February, school children's winter holidays started and families were still able to go on their expected holiday trips. However, everything changed in March as in mid-month Finland's Government imposed a state of emergency in the country. Finns were instructed to avoid travelling both in Finland and abroad due to the prevailing coronavirus situation.

At the end of March, the borders of Uusimaa were closed for good two weeks. Easter also fell on this period, which is normally a busy time for leisure trips. Only around one-half of the usual domestic trips to free-time residences and visits to friends or relatives were made in March to April. Travel abroad and to domestic hotels and rented cottages slowed down in March and stopped almost completely in April.

In addition, the inquiry concerning trips in April asked about trips for April to September that had been reserved before the restrictions set due to the pandemic in mid-March. One in four respondents had these foreign travel reservations and they estimated that nearly all of them were either cancelled or postponed to a later date due to the coronavirus situation. Correspondingly, around one in six of the respondents had reservations for domestic trips with paid accommodation, and around 90 per cent of these trips were estimated to have been cancelled or postponed. Altogether 1.4 million trips abroad and 0.8 million domestic trips with paid accommodation, for which reservations had been made before the restrictions set in March due to the pandemic, were cancelled or postponed in the April to September period for Finnish residents. Around 80 per cent of these trips were scheduled for April to June and only 20 per cent for July to September.

In the first four months of 2020, Finnish residents aged 15 to 84 made 6.9 million trips when all domestic and foreign leisure trips, as well as business and professional trips are included. In the corresponding period of the previous year, the number of trips was 11.8 million.

Altogether, 4.4 million domestic leisure trips with overnight stay were made in the January to April period. Of these, 3.3 million were trips with free accommodation. Trips with overnight stay in paid accommodation numbered 1.1 million.

Travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus situation also decreased leisure travel in Finland, as around 40 per cent fewer domestic leisure trips were made in the January to April period than in the previous year.

By contrast, there was a total upheaval in leisure trips. Trips abroad reserved for the time of schoolchildren’s winter holiday were still made as before, but trips abroad reserved for Easter time were cancelled.

Trips are recorded according to their month of ending and for Mainland Spain the number of these leisure trips increased by 74 per cent in the January to April period of 2020 from the corresponding period of the year before. In February to March, around one-half of the persons having returned from Mainland Spain were aged 65 to 84. This indicates that pensioners staying in Spain for the winter had to return to Finland early because of the coronavirus situation. The number of leisure trips to all other countries, including our neighbours Sweden and Estonia, declined considerably from the year before.

Inclusive of trips with overnight stay in the destination country, cruises and same-day trips, leisure trips abroad numbered 1.4 million in January to April 2020. In the corresponding period of the previous year, the number of leisure trips was 2.4 million.

A total of 1.1 million leisure trips abroad included overnight stay in the destination country in the January to April period of 2020. In January to April, 0.2 million cruises with overnight stay on board only were made. In the early part of the year, 0.2 million same-day trips abroad were made.

In addition to leisure trips, 0.8 million domestic business or professional trips with overnight stay were made. Business or professional trips abroad (inclusive of trips with overnight stay in the destination country, cruises and same-day trips) numbered 0.3 million. The numbers of business trips also decreased considerably in this exceptional spring.

These data derive from Statistics Finland's Finnish Travel survey for which data were collected from altogether 5,305 persons aged 15 to 84 on the web or alternatively as a telephone interview in February, March, April and May.


Source: Finnish Travel, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Taru Tamminen 029 551 2243, Ossi Nurmi 029 551 2984, liikenne.matkailu@stat.fi

Director in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Updated 3.9.2020

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Finnish Travel [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-9027. Spring (1.1.-30.4) 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 30.6.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/smat/2020/13/smat_2020_13_2020-09-03_tie_001_en.html