Traffic and mobile data show winter vacationers are not put off by the worsening Covid situation

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Skiers waiting for a ski lift at Levi station in Kittilä, Finnish Lapland.

Image: Antti Ullakko / Yle

The deteriorating coronavirus situation in Finland does not appear to have affected the travel plans of winter vacationers.

According to mobile phone and traffic data, there were as many – if not more – people traveling the country this week compared to the same time last year.

Automatic measuring points on the roads leading to Lapland’s most popular ski resorts recorded a markedly increased number of vehicles in the weekend before the start of the ski holiday week.

According to data collected by the ELY Center in Lapland, a total of 11,500 vehicles were registered on Saturday by three measuring points: between Kemi and Rovaniemi on Highway 4, on Highway 79 leading to Kittilä and on Highway 21 towards Ylläs.

Last year, just under 10,300 vehicles passed the same three test points.

The measuring points at the Fintraffic center in Uusimaa tell a similar story. Friday’s traffic volume in the province was 3.4 million, up 600,000 vehicles from the same period last year.

Location data suggests tourist numbers similar to 2020

As the winter ski holiday season in Finland started last week, the THL health agency and Lapland authorities have recommended residents of Uusimaa to avoid traveling outside their home province. .

Concerns about the spread of the coronavirus are further compounded by the risks associated with more contagious variants of the virus, which Helsingin Sanomat says now account for three-quarters of new cases in the capital region.

However, the recommendations did not lead many to cancel their lodge or hotel reservations for the ski vacation week.

Based on statistics compiled from mobile network data provided by Telia in Yle, there were about the same number of winter vacationers in Lapland this year as last year.

However, specialist Telia Tiia Palimo said that comparing the statistics with last year is not entirely straightforward, as foreign tourists are completely absent from Lapland this year.

“According to our statistics, the number of Finnish tourists to Lapland is at least as high this year as it was last year. This is best determined by comparing the population figures and taking into account the impact of foreign tourists on them, ”Palimo said.

Statistics derived from Telia mobile network data are generated from anonymized and aggregated data, and therefore cannot be used to identify individuals or groups.

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