Russian tourists no longer travel to Finland as frequently as before. Last autumn Finland was visited by 30% more Russians than in the autumn of 2001 but this year Russians have stopped visiting Finland in such large numbers, Kauppalehti newspaper reports.
According to the Centre for the Development of Tourism a dramatic fall in the number of tourists came in January 2003 when Russians spent 24 thousand less nights in Finnish hotels than they had done in January 2002, that is a drop of 15%. In February the drop in numbers was only 8%.
Finnish economists believe the drop in numbers is partly due to the fall of the American dollar against the euro as most Russians save their money in dollars. At the same time, the Finns also believe that Russians are simply looking for alternative tourist destinations.
Last year Swedish tourists visited Finland the most often, followed by Russian and then German tourists.
An unidentified man wielding a knife attacked civilians in the Church of Notre Dame in the French city of Nice. Three people were killed, several others were hospitalised with injuries.One of the victims was beheaded