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Quality description: Finnish Travel 2021

Relevance of statistical information

The statistics on Finnish Travel contain information on trips made by Finnish residents and on the number of persons having travelled during the year. The statistics describe trips in Finland and abroad including overnight stay and same-day trips abroad.

The data of the statistics are used for monitoring domestic travel and trips abroad made by Finnish residents. The data are intended particularly for the use of central government, tourism enterprises and organisations and researchers. Within central government, the data are mainly used for the balance of payment calculations. The data from the statistics are also reported to Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities in accordance with the Regulation on European statistics on tourism (EU) No 692/2011.

Statistics Finland collects the data of the statistics as a so-called mixed-mode data collection, that is, with a self-filled web questionnaire or alternatively as a telephone interview. The survey persons represent the population aged 15 to 84 permanently resident in Finland.

The data are collected on voluntary basis. Survey data on individual persons must be kept confidential by virtue of the Statistics Act (280/2004, Section 12).

The concept of usual environment is essentially connected to the definition of tourism. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year.

Statistics Finland's classifications of municipalities and countries for the statistical reference year are used for classifying destinations of trips.

Methodological description of the statistics

The data for the statistics are collected with an inquiry consisting of two parts. The monthly inquiry collects data on trips made by Finnish residents during the past three months, their numbers and characteristics. In 2019, data were exceptionally collected about trips during three previous months.

In addition to the last monthly inquiry of the year, a so-called annual inquiry is made, where yes/no questions are used to establish the numbers of persons having made different types of trips during the statistical reference year.

The data collection is a sample-based inquiry conducted with a web questionnaire or alternatively as a telephone interview. The target persons are primarily asked to respond to the inquiry with a web questionnaire. If data are not obtained, the statistical interviewer will contact the target person by telephone. The data are collected between the February of the statistical reference year and the January of the year following it. The data for each monthly inquiry are collected during the following month. The data for the annual inquiry on persons having travelled are collected in connection with the last monthly inquiry of the year.

The population of the statistics comprises people aged 15 to 84 permanently resident in Finland according to the Population Information System. However, persons permanently living in institutions are excluded from the population. The samples are drawn with systematic sampling, and they represent the population comprehensively with respect to age, sex, area of residence and native language. Working-age people (aged 25 to 64) are drawn to the sample slightly more often than young people (aged 15 to 24) and pensioners (aged 65 to 84) because the highest number of trips is made by working-age people.

The sample size of the inquiry is 28,200 persons per year, that is, 2,350 persons per month. In 2019, the sample size was 16,000 persons per year. Until 2012, the same sample was also used in the data collection of the monthly statistics on consumer confidence.

The response data are expanded to the whole population with weighting coefficients. From 2012 onwards, the weighting coefficient for each month is expanded to the population of the month (preliminary data on population structure). The strata used are the respondent's age group, sex and area of residence (major region). Before 2012, only sex was used as the stratum.

Correctness and accuracy of data

The data content of the statistics was extended particularly in the years 1995 to 1997 to correspond to the requirements of the EC Directive on tourism statistics (95/57/EC). In 1996, same-day trips abroad were included in the statistics in addition to trips with overnight stay, so in its present extent the statistics present a fairly comprehensive picture of travelling by Finnish residents. Only same-day trips in Finland are excluded from the statistics.

After the questionnaire reform of 2012, the respondent no longer decides the type of trip her/himself, but it is deduced from the responses given. All modes of overnight stays used during a trip are included in the questions, in order to ensure that trips with paid accommodation automatically get grouped correctly. This reduces errors and enables more accurate compilation of statistics.

The non-response rate for the survey is on the annual level 45 per cent. Non-response is one of the main sources of errors, as the size of non-response has an immediate effect on the size of the weighting coefficients. The larger the non-response rate, the greater the weighting coefficients.

Random variation caused by sampling is described by means of confidence intervals calculated for the annual estimates of trips and persons having travelled.

Table 1. Confidenceintervals of numbers of trips by type of trip in 2020

Type of trip N           Sum              Standard deviation 95% Confidence Limit for Sum
Lower Upper
1,000 trips
Domestic leisure trips with paid accommodation 1,555 5,450 130 5,210 5,700
Domestic leisure trips with free accommodation 4,563 15,930 150 15,620 16,230
Domestic business and professional trips 556 1,960 80 1,810 2,120
Same-day leisure trips abroad (incl. day cruises) 93 330 30 260 400
Leisure cruises abroad 87 300 30 240 360
Leisure trips abroad, overnight in country of destination 482 1,660 70 1,510 1,810
Business and professional trips abroad 115 400 40 330 480

Table 2. Confidence intervals of numbers of persons by travelling activity in 2020

Travelling activity N           Sum         Standard deviation 95% Confidence Limit for Sum
Lower Upper
1,000 persons
Did’t make leisure trips with overnight stay 335 1,270 60 1,160 1,380
Made leisure trips with overnight stay 827 3,140 60 3,030 3,260
Made domestic leisure trips with paid accommodation 422 1,160 60 1,490 1,730
Made same-day leisure trips abroad (incl. day cruises) 327 1,010 50 910 1,100
Made leisure cruises abroad 116 440 40 360 520
Made leisure trips abroad with paid accommodation, overnight in country of destination 55 200 30 150 260
Made business and professional trips, domestic and abroad 117 460 40 380 530

The results are presented at the accuracy of ten thousand. Prior to 2012, figures below 10,000 were not published, but they were entered as uncertain data. From 2012 to 2015, figures under 50,000 were entered as uncertain data. Starting from 2016, figures under 100,000 are entered as uncertain data.

Timeliness and promptness of published data

Until 2011, data on the numbers of trips were published monthly six to seven weeks from the end of the statistical reference month. From 2012 on, preliminary data are released at four-month intervals six to seven weeks from the end of the period, but preliminary data for 2020 are exceptionally released four months from the end of the period.

Annual data are published on the website of the statistics on Finnish Travel around three months after the end of the year.

The data are published only on Statistics Finland's website. The annual Finnish Travel publication was produced as a printed copy until the statistical year 2008.

Annual data on trips are available by group of trips and destination area in Statistics Finland's StatFin database. The time series by group of trips start from 1991 and by destination area from 2000.

Comparability of statistics

The statistics have been made regularly since 1991. From 1991 to 1994, Statistics Finland produced the statistics on assignment of the Finnish Tourist Board. These years are mutually comparable, because uniform methods were used. In 1995, the statistics were transferred completely to Statistics Finland. The content and methodological changes started in the same year have had an effect on the comparability of data between 1995 and 1999. The data content and the calculation and data collection methods remained unchanged from 2000 to 2009. Due to changes made to the data collection in 2010 and 2012, the figures are not fully comparable with previous years.

Starting from the beginning of 2000, the survey has been made centrally every month together with the Consumer Survey (now Consumer Confidence). Prior to this, the data were collected in connection with those for Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey, quarterly between 1996 and 1999 and before that three times a year.

In 2000, the maximum length of a trip changed from 90 to 365 days according to the guidelines of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The fact that starting from the statistical reference year 2000, target persons have been asked about trips that ended during the survey period instead of trips that started, has also weakened the comparability of the data somewhat.

The data collection was changed in 2010 so that the survey period of the interview month was shortened from two months to one month, that is, the inquiry concerns only trips ended during the month immediately before the interview month instead of the two previous months as before. Previously, final data on the numbers of trips in each month were obtained as an average for two samples, after the change the figures are based on one sample.

From 2012 onwards, the statistics on tourism are compiled in accordance with the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) No 692/2011. At the same time, the population was extended from people aged 15 to 74 to those aged 15 to 84, more accurate weighting coefficients were introduced and significant changes were made to the interview questionnaire. On account of the revision, the data are not fully comparable with previous years. The extension of the age group increased the sums by group of trips by two to five per cent. The specification of the weighting coefficient increased the sums by group of trips by two to three per cent. It is difficult to define the effect of changed questions on the results obtained. The deduction of the type of trip from the responses given (instead of the respondent's own classification) has moved part of the trips to another group. The revised instructions aim to lower the amount of travelling belonging to the usual environment in the statistics.

In the 2019 survey, the reference period of the monthly survey was extended from one month to three previous months. The aim of the change was to obtain more travel observations from each respondent than before. At the same time, however, fewer trips were obtained by month. This is assumed to be because either not all trips during three months were remembered to be reported or their reporting was felt too heavy especially for those who travelled much. This sub-reporting concerned especially short trips, business trips, and various trips made with guest and other free accommodation.

In order to maintain the comparability of the annual numbers of trips, the weight coefficients of trips were raised by type of trip and for trips abroad by country-specific coefficients. Source data outside the statistics describing annual level change were used to determine these inflating coefficients. Statistics Finland's accommodation statistics were used especially for trips with paid accommodation in Finland. For Finnish residents' trips abroad, statistical data based on data on telecommunications operators were used on visits by destination country, statistics on package tours of the Association of Finnish Travel Agents, passenger statistics on sea transport, and for Estonian tourism, statistics on the number of passengers published by the Port of Tallinn.

Data on persons having travelled are comparable between different years. The annual survey on persons having travelled was made in connection with the Labour Force Survey between 1991 and 2011 and after that as annexed to the Finnish Travel Survey.

Coherence and consistency/uniformity

Finnish travel compiles statistics on the demand for tourism. The supply of tourism in Finland is described in Statistics Finland's monthly and annually published Accommodation statistics . The statistics contain data on the accommodation capacity of hotels and its use and overnight stays at accommodation establishments broken down by the visitors' country of residence.

Tourism satellite account (TSA) is a statistical system in which the economic effects of tourism are described in a versatile and comprehensive manner. The figures for tourism accounts are published on the web pages of Visit Finland's statistical service Rudolf.

Statistics on passenger transport between Finland and foreign countries are compiled in Statistics Finland's statistics on international sea transport and air transport. However, these statistics do not report the country of residence of the passengers. The Association of Finnish Travel Agents (AFTA) publishes yearly on its website statistics on leisure package tours made by air and their market shares, which provide information about the number of trips bought through travel agencies by country of destination.

Source: Finnish Travel, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Taru Tamminen 029 551 2243, Ossi Nurmi 029 551 2984,

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala

Updated 22.6.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Finnish Travel [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-9027. Spring (1.1.-30.4) 2021, Quality description: Finnish Travel 2021 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 14.7.2024].
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