Around 300 thousand Russians will visit Finland this year, including 130 thousand first-time visitors. This is 30% more than last year. This prediction was published by the Finnish research and analytical centre TAK, which regularly conducts opinion polls among Russian tourists returning home through border points in South-East Finland. About 1,200 Russians took part in the last poll.
Over the last ten years the flow of Russian tourists to Finland has increased tenfold. Over 65% of trips are made by a regular contingent of Russian passengers, who number about 20 thousand.
TAK predicts that this year Russians will spend a total of EUR 650 million in Finland. The majority of this figure will be spent on spare parts for cars and car repairs. Recently, there has been a marked increase in expenditure by Russians on building and DIY materials, although it is the size of purchases not the number of customers that has grown. Russians are generally more interested in shopping in Finland than in holidaying there. Only one fifth of Russian tourists in Finland come purely for a holiday. The most common reason for holidaying in Finland is to visit an aqua-park. Fishing comes next on the list.
Half of Russian tourists come to Finland from St. Petersburg or the Leningrad Region. One third come from Vyborg. The number of tourists from Moscow has decreased slightly in recent years.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign