Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Finland, China explore tourism opportunities

16 Aug 2018, 01:28 ( 8 Months ago) | updated: 16 Aug 2018, 09:02 ( 8 Months ago)

DF Report by Natalia Nikolaeva
Speakers at a seminar on the cooperation between Finland and China in tourism industry was held on Tuesday in Helsinki. DF Photo.

Speakers at a seminar on cooperation between Finland and China in tourism industry on Tuesday explored the prospects of visiting different tourist spots in China by Finnish citizens.

The seminar held in Helsinki was addressed, among others, by representatives of Shaanxi Provincial Tourism Bureau, Visit Finland, and the national flag carrier Finnair. The collaboration among the agencies is aimed at promoting Chinese tourism resources among Finnish travellers.

With Finnair launching direct flights between Helsinki and Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, Finnish travellers will get direct access to six destinations across China – Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Xi’an.

Visit Finland Regional Manager (Asia) Teemu Ahola said they have “a strong focus on working with the Chinese colleagues and with China,” adding that Visit Finland is “very happy to promote the beautiful region of Shaanxi Province.”

At the seminar, Shaanxi Tourism Development Committee Vice-Director Chen Mengyu described the tours and activities offered to tourists coming from Finland. The tour packages are tailor-made to travellers’ interests and desires. There is, for example, a two-day world cultural heritage tour that includes a visit to Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum site with its famous terracotta warriors, the Grand Buddha Temple, and the Daming Palace National Heritage Park, among others.

Mengyu said there is also a unique possibility to take a red revolution themed tour, an ecological tour or a Chinese historical and cultural tour. These tours aim to incorporate both sightseeing and a demonstration of Chinese culture, arts and traditional activities.

According to Mengyu, “There are a lot of individual visitors who want to explore the Chinese culture.” That is why tourists are offered the opportunity to get to know the ancient traditions of crafts like Shaanxi paper-cutting, Fengxiang clay sculpture, and Yaozhou porcelain work. Moreover, the lucky visitors of Shaanxi Province have an exclusive opportunity to experience the traditional shadow puppet theatre as well as Ansai, a traditional drum folk dance, besides many other professional picturesque shows and performances. The whole vacation can be planned around the tours offered in Shaanxi.

“Only the capital itself, Xi’an, has so many attractions! There are terracotta warriors, of course, there are spa areas, and there is the bell tower. Many Finns do thoroughly explore the city. If you want to see all the attractions, it takes up to five days. Personally, I don’t think one visit is enough,” asserted Mengyu.

The foodies will be spoiled by the diversity of local delicacies, he quipped. Dumplings, noodles, pita bread soaked in lamb soup, Chinese hamburgers, and Guokui pancakes are just a few of dishes to be tasted in Shaanxi. “There are also local food treasures to experience, such as Shaanxi Apple, which is cultivated on big farming areas north of the Weihe River,” he added.

Zhou Bing, chairman of TGG Shaanxi, the biggest tourism corporation in Shaanxi, shared his views on the promotion of tourism resources under the Finland-China collaboration. “We have a plan of promotion, because we know that there are already a lot of Chinese travellers coming to Europe, to Scandinavia, to Finland. The growth is incredibly fast. So first of all we have to promote the services among those who want to but have not yet decided to visit Finland and secondly to those who have already decided. Chinese tourists are interested in Finland first of all because of the northern lights. They are mostly attracted by the winter destination.”

Bing pointed out some of the challenges and opportunities in the tourism services available in Finland: “In Finland there is a lack of hotel rooms for such a large number of Chinese tourists. We know that right now there are a lot of companies in Finland which can provide the incoming travel services for Chinese tourists. Some of them are Chinese, while some are Finnish companies. A lot of free independent travellers are coming to Finland from China and they don’t have a detailed travel plan, but they come over here and are interested in Finland. That requires lot of efforts by local companies to take care of Chinese tourists from a cultural point of view. And of course we are also confident that we are going to promote Finland in our province.”

Bing said their collaboration with Visit Finland and Finnair opens up new perspectives for Finnish tourists who are interested in exploring China. “We are trying our best to do whatever we can to promote Chinese tourism resources. We really hope that we can receive more and more European tourists and especially Finnish tourists as now we have this partnership with Visit Finland and Finnair.”

Right now, TGG Shaanxi is exploring the marketing opportunities in Finland. “For example, when we arrive at Helsinki Airport, we know there are quite a few advertisement boards with vacancies. We are very interested in putting advertisement for Shaanxi tourism up there so that it would be visible to Finnish people and also to other international tourists. I believe we have an opportunity to cover this market,” concluded Bing.

Finally, tourism operators of Finland were invited to visit Xi’an Silk Road International Tourism Expo scheduled for March 2019.