For many travel enthusiasts, winter is a time to hold up indoors, parked in front of a warm fire and dreaming about warmer weather and sunnier destinations. However, there’s a growing number of folks who actually prefer cold winter travel destinations.
Lapland, the northernmost area of Finland and Sweden, is one such destination. Temperatures dip to a shattering 112 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, but that doesn’t stop a large number of travelers from heading to Lapland between November and April. In fact, the Finnish airline Finnair has actually had to increase the number of flights to the area to accommodate the growing interest. All of this interest has resulted in a triple-digit increase in tourists traveling to Lapland.
One big attraction that’s drawing tourists to this part of the world is the Northern Lights. Add to that the chance for adventures in the snow and exploration of parts of nature that have not been touched by man and it’s not hard to see where the allure comes from. If you’re really looking for adventure, you can even stay in a hotel made entirely from ice, located just outside of Kittila.
Some of the folks involved in the tourism industry in Lapland say that a big reason that tourism has increased is the simple fact that folks want to learn new things. Some of that curriculum includes making fires, heating saunas, sleeping in rooms made of ice, working with sled dogs, etc.
Most of the tourists are coming from China and the United States. Since 2013, tourism from the U.S. alone has increased 65 percent. Scandinavian tours have increased more than any other region in the world, a staggering 276 percent bump in interest.
But what’s the impact of all this travel interest?
In the more rural areas, the opportunity to develop has increased thanks to the increased tourism. Take the small village of Ammarnas, which has an indigenous population of only 50 residents. Thanks to the travel interest, Ammarnas has an operating café, hotel, butcher, three restaurants and a grocery store. There are a handful of locals that don’t appreciate the newfound attention, but for the most part, the increased travel interest in these remote locations are appreciated by both the tourists and the residents alike.