Friday , 14 June 2024
Home Global Economy Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi eagerly awaits its guests
Global Economy

Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi eagerly awaits its guests

The snow is glistening, the candles are burning, the cold is clinking: Rovaniemi, in Finnish Lapland, also known as the official home of Santa Claus, is ready for the most important season of the year.

Normally 500,000 visitors come every year. But how many there will be in this second Corona winter is anyone’s guess. The new Omikron variant, including travel restrictions, test requirements and quarantine measures, could spoil the Christmas business again. The tourism industry in the Arctic Circle fears for survival, warns the managing director of “Visit Rovaniemi”.

“It was a really tough year and a half”

You couldn’t get through another winter like this here. Added to this was the great uncertainty. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, every day you start over and look at the latest updates and news and ask yourself: What’s happening to the travellers? To the tourism workers and the businesses? How can we survive? It really was tough year and a half. We don’t know when it’s really going to end.”

Tourism normally brings in around 260 million euros per year. In 2020, revenue collapsed by more than 60 percent.

“It wasn’t until we were on the plane that we knew: it will work!”

Because of Omikron, holidaymakers not only have to worry about the entry but also the return journey, the pandemic is changing so quickly.

Mauro are newly married and have traveled from Malta. “It was a last-minute decision for us. It wasn’t until we sat on the plane and took off that we knew it would work!”

Val Izzi, from Rome, also arrived with a queasy feeling. “Honestly, we’ve thought about it, but everyone seems to be vaccinated here. You have to hope that you’re lucky and that everything goes well. So far, so good.”

The intrepid – and those who have been vaccinated – who, despite everything, make it to the far north will be rewarded with a wonderful winter landscape and the northern lights.

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