Saturday February 27, 2021

Pandemic halts tourism, recovery needs years

Published : 11 Feb 2021, 00:41

  DF Report

DF File Photo.

The coronavirus pandemic brought tourism to a halt in spring 2020 and it will take a few years to recover, said the sector report on the tourism industry published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on Wednesday.

The turnover and staff numbers of companies in the tourism sector have increased during 2015–2019, said the ministry in the press release, quoting the report.

In 2019, the number of companies in the sector was about 29,000 and they employed about 119,000 persons directly. The total turnover of companies in the sector was EUR 21 billion.

“The figures in the report describe the situation before the coronavirus pandemic and show that there is a demand for tourism in Finland. As we all know, the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on tourism, but Finland has several strengths in the sector. We are a safe country and we can also stand out due to our sustainability,” said Sector Manager Lea Marski from the North Ostrobothnia ELY Centre. Marski compiled the report.

In 2019, passenger transport and its services had the largest turnover among the tourism industry groups, while food and beverage services were the largest employer. Over the past few years, the number of new companies in the tourism sector has increased moderately.

Tourism sector accounts for about 2.7% of Finland’s GDP. Tourism supports the development of regions, especially outside growth centres, thereby strengthening a balanced regional structure.

In spring 2020, the tourism sector collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions imposed to prevent its spread. The restrictions have successfully reduced the spread of the disease, but also have driven the tourism sector, in particular, to serious financial difficulties.

The turnover of tourism companies has decreased dramatically and the number of people laid off has multiplied from previous years. The State has introduced different kinds of support instruments to address the harm caused by the coronavirus crisis.

It is estimated that the demand for tourism may recover from the pandemic in a few years’ time, but its impact on the industry may be extensive and long-lasting in many ways.

It may take a long time before the financial situation of tourism companies improves, which may slow down investments for growth. The pandemic has also affected the consumer demand and behaviour of tourists, which should be taken into account in service production and its development.