Finland had a great year for tourism, and for Chinese tourism especially. In 2017 the number of Chinese visits to the Nordic country rose by an impressive 63 percent, according to Visit Finland. 2016 saw around 265,000 Chinese visits to the country, and 2017 saw around 432,000. What makes this figure even more significant is the level of spending associated with Chinese travel. Its biggest tourism source market in terms of visits is Russia, with Russian visitors spending on average $295 (240 euro). Chinese tourists, on the other hand, spent on average around $1,553.
For reference, according to the Chinese Tourism Academy (CTA), Chinese tourists made approximately 130 million outbound trips in 2017 and spent a total of $115.29 billion on overseas travel. This puts the average spending for Chinese outbound trips at around $880.
Chinese spending in Finland rose by 39 percent in 2017 to reach a total of $412.5 million
Finland is not a well-known destination globally, let alone in China. Yet, it has been able to punch well above its weight in regards to global Chinese tourism. For example, Britain, a globally renowned destination, attracted 260,000 Chinese visits, lower than Finland’s 2016 figures and much lower than 2017’s figures. Although, it is expected that Chinese tourism to Britain will represent robust growth over 2016.
Much of the success can be attributed to aggressive marketing and industry reorientation. A big part of this effort has been the widespread adoption of Chinese mobile payments, particularly Alipay. Alibaba claims that Finland is the world’s first “all-Alipay” destination. Alibaba even sent eight Chinese tourists to to the country for a “cashless” getaway, touting that the travelers could book flights, make retail purchases, and dine out all with Alipay.