Carloads of Russian holidaymakers arriving in Finland to celebrate New Year
Longest queues were seen on the eastern border in the early hours of Thursday morning
Large convoys of cars bearing Russian holidaymakers have begun to arrive in Finland, but serious congestion was not yet seen at the southeastern border-crossing stations yesterday.
At the Vaalimaa border-crossing point, the waiting period was up to a couple of hours, while in Imatra it was possible to cross the border in ten minutes. Early in the morning after 3:00 a.m., the Nuijamaa checkpoint in Lappeenranta saw long queues of cars, but the worst congestion was over by 10:00 am.
Yesterday evening, all border-crossing stations were already ”really quiet” , and there was no longer any sign of queues.
From Nuijamaa, many Russian tourists from Moscow and St. Petersburg continue their journey towards the ski resorts in Northern Finland, which is why they come to the border early, reported Captain Jouni Laurén, the head of the border-crossing station.
”So far the traveller coming the greatest distance was on his way from the coast of the Black Sea to Lapland”, Laurén adds.
The snowy cars were carrying ski boxes on their roofs and travellers taking a vacation with their families.
The Losevs with their two children were on their way from St. Petersburg to Lemi in South Karelia. The family bought a house in Lemi last May, which is why they come to Finland frequently.
The Losev children have a long break from school, and the vacation will be spent in Lemi, said their father Dmitri, while the sons Nikita and Vladislav were bobbing up and down on the back seat of their car.
Russian tourists find Finland quiet, peaceful, and beautiful, and the Losevs are no exception. ”It is nice here”, confirms the boys’ mother Jelena Losev.
The tourist numbers have been pretty well as large as predicted. According to Laurén, even more passengers could be handled smoothly. There has been no need to restrict the employees’ holidays, as very few of them usually take holidays at the turn of the year.
The border-crossing station has up to 12 checkpoints, and on Thursday passenger cars were directed through the checkpoint for buses.
As there is hardly any truck traffic, even the checkpoints for trucks can be opened for passenger traffic if necessary.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Shopping in Finland saves Russian tourists´ roubles (30.11.2010)
Tourism from Russia increases tax-free sales in southeastern city of Lappeenranta (22.6.2010)
Russians flood into Finland for Christmas and New Year holiday (12.12.2006)
Christmas and New Year in Finland again attract Russian tourists (12.12.2005)
Finnish Tourist Board (MEK)