Yet another signal of the importance of Russian tourist consumers for the Finnish economy: shopkeepers in the Uusimaa Province surrounding Helsinki wish to keep their stores open at Epiphany on January 6th.
An exceptional permit to keep the area’s retail stores open for Epiphany is being sought by the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce, the reason being that Russian tourists arrive in Finland for their holiday around that time.
“In all likelihood we will have an exceptional number of Russian customers with high paying capacity and a willingness to spend money here, just waiting to do some serious shopping. It would be dumb to leave the opportunity unexploited”, says Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Tiina Pasuri.
Last year, thousands of Russian tourists poured over the border from New Year's Eve onwards, even causing long queues at crossing points.
Much of the trade is siphoned up by retailers in the Lappeenranta region in the south-east of the country, but the capital area would like to take its own share.