Tourists pour into Europe’s Far North
According to the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, more than 50,000 tourists will visit Finnish Lapland during the Christmas season.
Most of the winter tourist trade in “exotic” Lapland comes from Great Britain.
And most of these travellers on package tours won’t even spend the night in Lapland, but will arrive in the morning and leave in the evening.
Rovaniemi is the most common destination for these tourists, attracted to the region by an international marketing campaign that openly capitalizes on Sami culture for its appeal.
Nearly every visitor stops by the “Santa Village” outside Rovaniemi. The village’s boutiques sell imitation Sami crafts as souvenirs and widely portray Sami as Santa’s elves and Sami reindeer as Santa’s animals in their publicity and merchandise.
In the past, Sami youth groups have demonstrated at this shopping centre to draw attention to its exploitation of Sami and their reindeer-herding traditions.