Seasonality and Summer Tourism in Lapland tourism Finland

Lapland calls for more visitors during the summer season

Winter season in Lapland attracts a lot of visitors every year, and no wonder why. The snowy sceneries, the magic of northern lights and pure nature are very unique characteristics for many foreigners. When looking at the recent infographic by House of Lapland, in 2019 there were 3,1 million registered visitors in Lapland. Out of those, over 2 million visitors stayed in Lapland during the winter months, so from November to April. During the snowless season, from May to October, there were around 1 million visitors. This situation has caused a lot of seasonality problems in Lapland.

Wilderness hut in Lapland at summer time

Summer season as the main area of development in Lapland

Like said, winter season offers a lot, but luckily the same goes with summer as well. If in the wintertime you can admire the northern lights, in the summer you can enjoy sunshine 24/7. In winter, the surroundings are covered in snow, and in summer the nature is shining in all shades of green. To increase the development of summer tourism, The Regional Council of Lapland has made it the main goal in their Lapland Tourism Strategy 2020-2023. The aim is to grow the snowless time in a way that it would become as strong season alongside to the winter season in the next 10 years.

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Why to develop the summer season?

What kind of issues does the seasonality bring into the tourism in Lapland? And why is it important to develop the summer season as well? Outi Rantala, the Associate Professor of Responsible Arctic Tourism from the University of Lapland, has been a part of the research about seasonality issues in the arctic tourism. She tells that seasonality is especially tricky for the local communities. In the winter season there can be huge crowds in travelers in certain areas. When the season ends, also the services are closing down for the summer. Winter season in Lapland requires a huge amount of employees as well. As the seasonality is high, this makes it hard for the employees to engage to the job and the areas. Tourism industry as an employer in Lapland can really suffer from this. The problem is that cannot offer jobs around the year, but only for a short period of time.

Midnight sun in Lapland

Seasonality brings up issues for the future

One big theme in the future of tourism in the Arctic areas is the climate change. If the temperatures are getting higher and in the future there will be no snow, what happens to the industry then if it has only been focusing on winter activities? Outi Rantala points out that in the winter season snow can restrict travelers to move freely and in a way protects the nature, but in the summer the situation is not the same. So, when developing summer tourism, it’s important to also focus on the protection of the nature areas. As one of the key points in tourism development Outi brings out the local communities, who should be in the center when developing tourism in Lapland. They are the experts, and they know the problems of the seasonality.

Forest in Finland during the summer

Lapland is worth it in the summer as well

Many are wondering that is it then really worth to travel to Lapland in the summer? The answer is absolutely yes! Outi also said it well: The summer in Lapland has its very own rhythm, that you really can’t experience in the winter. The light summer nights, events and special services are creating an atmosphere, where you are able to slow down. Summertime is also a good time to support the sustainability: you are already supporting the sustainability when choosing a less crowded time of the year to travel. Nightless nights are also the great time to explore the arctic nature foods as its the high time for different berries, mushrooms and so on. 

Arctic food blueberry Forest Finland Lapland summer

You can practice the act of doing nothing, just enjoy your surroundings, support the locals and take time for yourself. All this doesn’t mean that the tourism in wintertime should stop. Absolutely not, and travelers should continue coming in the winter time as well. The point is that it’s good to broaden the view also to other seasons as well: since Lapland actually has overall 8 different seasons! This said, we hope you will visit Lapland in the summer as well, as soon as it’s possible!

  • saija.halminen@ourlapland.fi

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