Finland as a tourist destination through the eyes of the japanese

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Title: Finland as a tourist destination through the eyes of the japanese
Author: Matilainen, Anne; Santalahti, Saana
Belongs to series: Reports 180
ISSN: 1796-0630
ISBN: 978-951-51-3757-9
Abstract: The aim of this study was to get an impression of the image of Finland from those Japanese who already have some knowledge on the country. As many Japanese tourist only use the Helsinki-Vantaa airport as a transfer airport to Europe, there is a need to consider how to keep the Japanese in the country. Thus, there is also a need to understand why the tourists visit the places they do. This is question this study aims also to answer. The study was carried out by interviewing Japanese who have been living or staying in Finland for more than three months but no more than five years. As the purpose was to find interviewees who had more experience from Finland than an average tourist, but had not yet fully integrated to the Finnish society, this timespan was seen as the most suitable. The data was then analyzed by using qualitative thematic analysis. The results of the interviews showed that the reasons why the respondents had come to Finland were quite similar; most came to Finland due to studies, work or because their spouse moved. Safety, English language skills and good education system were the most common reasons why Finland was chosen. The general opinion of Finland as a tourist destination was positive and most would recommend visiting Finland to their friends. Opi-nions on Finnish culture and people were positive as well. Over half of the respondents said that they would visit Finland again in the future. Those who wouldn’t, said that they would probably choose another Nordic country. Bureaucracy, darkness du-ring the winter, difficulties finding friends and job and learning the Finnish language were mentioned as negative aspects related living in Finland. As for the image about Finland, the most commonly mentioned “Finnish things” were sauna, Moomin and forests and nature. The respondents had traveled relatively lot around Finland. Most had visited different cities reachable by public transport and different destinations in Lapland. Porvoo, Turku and Tampere were mentioned as the memorable because of their beautiful sceneries, old towns and history, and Lapland because of its nature. Places where the respondents had not yet visited but would like to were mostly in Lapland and archipelago. Defining ‘rural area’ was found difficult to the respondents, but the impressions of it were still positive. Places the respondents would like to show or have their friends experience were diverse. Most were in the Helsinki area and experiences included sauna and forest scenery. When asked to describe and expe-rience the respondents would like to create for their Japanese friends or family if there were no budget limitations, most would like to tour around Helsinki area and after this visit Lapland and other parts of Finland. Quite many would also like to combine other countries such as Sweden, Norway and Estonia to the tour. There is definitely a need to improve tourist information available in English and especially in Japanese. This lack of information can be the reason why rural areas were hard for the respondents to comprehend. The results of the study were gene-rally in line with previous studies about important product characteristics for Japanese tourists. However, the results also brought up new insights on potential tourist attractions and ideas for developing existing and new products.
Date: 2018

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