How Lapland plans to save lots of Christmas from Covid

(CNN) – Santa sitting carefully behind the plexiglass. Elves sits far away while wearing surgical masks.

It is very exciting in 2020, but with the holiday season no other way around so fast, tourists in Lapland believe it is the best way to save Christmas and save themselves after a brutal year in which the number of tourists increases dramatically from 2019.

Aided by the new infectious disease laws in Finland, it is set to take effect on November 23, which, although it is the second time in Europe that coronavirus cases have led to a new closure, allowing 72 hours of travel in the country without reason.Visitors from EU and European countries with 26 Schengen visas will be allowed to come if they test the Covid test 72 hours before departure and prove that this is not a good idea. Longevity requires isolation and re-examination. The rules could be changed, however, the Finnish government revised the plans at the time of writing.

“Christmas is not free,” said Sanna Kärkkäinen, CEO of Visit Rovaniemi, Palace in Santa Claus, located above the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland.

“This year will be different from previous years, but I’m sure travelers who come here will have a lot of fun.”

Kärkkäinen said businesses in the region have been operating erratically since summer to prepare for the holidays, ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations until the letter.

“Together with the Lapland hospital district we have developed a secure Covid transportation system.

“We are committed to working in this way and it is clear that this is one of our hallmarks for visitors that we are doing everything we can to make tourism more secure.”

Making boundaries

That’s not what you think. To get a better understanding of Rovaniemi, Finland, head to the center of the city and sit quietly in the woods, where the dogs run.

Also with Santa sitting behind the plexiglass and his elves offering PPE, Kärkkäinen says the lack of large groups and looking for one group means that visitors to the Santa meeting will not have a problem in determining the distance between people.

“In some cases, small numbers help us to expand these services to the point where we can mix them with the health care and services we offer,” he said.

Homemakers have already started heading north to see Santa, while Kärkkäinen says this is very similar to previous years.

However, Kärkkäinen’s fears of strict isolation could mean that some tourists choose not to attend.

“Seventy-two hours is a temporary decrease in Lapland,” he says. “They usually stay between three and four days. Our goal is always to get people to enjoy the place and the destination, which means they are longer, which means the trips are more stable.”

Despite this, operators have been changing stages, boarding, embarrassing experiences and the opportunity to see the Northern Lights before taking passengers back to the airport at the time of their departure.

Alistair McLean, general manager of The Artisan Travel Company, which manages travel to the region, said he was impressed with Finland’s change of pace.

“The Finnish government in particular has been working closely with tourism agencies from Lapland to address the link between regulating the spread and allowing their tourism industry to flourish,” he said.

The nature of the foreign events offered in Lapland means that it is easy to get too close, while often just hanging out with those who have been to one country, he adds.

“We can’t say for sure that Father Christmas or his elves wouldn’t wear masks,” says McLean.

“We hope that everyone will adopt a new approach to 2020, having a memorable, magical holiday at the end of the year will be very rewarding – even with a number of security measures.”

Simon Lynch, marketing manager at Scott Dunn is also disappointed.

“The coming season looks promising in Finapish and Sweden Lapland,” he says.

“We are encouraged by the many questions we have had in both places, from families looking for a bucket trip to see Santa and the deer, as well as couples looking for more winter outings to visit away from the Northern Lights, where they may have chosen to visit. ski elsewhere in Europe. “

This time in Sweden

Meet someone who can give Santa Claus his money and his flying slede.

Across the border in Sweden, Schengen, EU and UK tourists do not follow immigration laws. And the isolation of the region means that it is possible to relax there, even though Santa lives in Finland.

“We are where we go with large areas, small and private accommodation and especially outdoor events that are offered to small groups or private companies,” says Anna Skogh, of the Sweden Lapland Visitors Board. “This has been beneficial in adapting some of the conditions to reduce visitors.

Despite this, Skogh has no hope of increasing the number of visitors.

Last year the number of visitors to Lapland arrived.

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Photos

“It doesn’t look good this winter. Long-distance commuters can’t walk, and travel restrictions to the nearest market change from week to week. Sweden Lapland is particularly affected because we are destinations for other countries, especially in winter.

“What we find is that people are very interested in moving here, but the current situation is very difficult for this to happen.”

He noted that there had been an increase in the number of inquiries regarding flights to the region, which reduced the need to change flights in Stockholm. However, with pilots suffering, this may not be a doubt for all but the most avid winter-loving enthusiasts.

With Santa on the line

Christmas is a big business in Rovaniemi, Finland but Santa Claus is not the only tourist attraction in the Arctic Circle.

Some workers have decided that because of the constant change of pace, switching routes is the best option. After a year of posting videos at work and chatting with families, it seems Santa should be at the window instead of just chatting.

A UK holiday developer in Santa Lapland wants to offer the “Santa, Live from Lapland” movie for $ 85 ($ 111) for a family with four children. The singing lasts 10 minutes and the elf takes the family to visit Santa’s house before meeting the old man.

The company suspended its 2020 trips following the toughest flights from the UK to mainland Europe.

“With increasing restrictions in the UK, many of us have been wondering how we can preserve the magic of Christmas 2020,” said Paul Carter, CEO of Santa Lapland. “We want to help make it a memorable one, by giving families the opportunity to meet Santa from the peace and security of their home.

“While no Christmas can be compared to the great joy of going to Lapland to visit Santa in his arid home, where the deer are real, and the Northern Lights dance the night sky. Families can now taste the real magic of Lapland this Christmas.”

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond

Many tourists have delayed their trip to Lapland until 2021.

Many tourists have delayed their trip to Lapland until 2021.

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Photos

Santa’s Lapland has already started booking for 2021 and says most of its lost customers this year just booked the following Christmas.

Julie Kenyon from Lapland Experience says this has become popular with those who want to have hope for that within 12 months.

“Some of our colleagues have suspended their Santa Santa 2020 program and moved most of their customers to 2021. Therefore, for those who want to travel to Lapland in December 2021, it is important that we reserve it now because the need will be greater next time and move customers to 2021 already and space is limited on this trip.

“If the 2020 trips are not possible, our goal will be 2021 and I ensure that all of our 2020 clients are also saved, and I advise anyone who wants to register their vacation in Lapland as soon as possible next year.”

In Rovaniemi, where even the city’s road plans are paved, Sanna Kärkkäinen is looking back to 2021 for encouragement.

“We are looking forward to the coming season and the next season, ’21 / 22. I think that is the main goal right now. As soon as the country starts again, I think our development and tourism will be better.”

Meanwhile, saving Christmas depends on Finland keeping new travel restrictions and brave Santa fans to look through the glass and re-test the Covid test before departure.

Only time can tell if the Christmas of 2020 has not been postponed.

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