Regardless of who you are at this moment of time in Finland, whether a homemaker cooking salmon, a political activist in Nastola, a start-up entrepreneur in Oulu, or a rally driver in Espoo, you’d know for sure that these are no rosy times in the famous Nordic country. Reason being the lockdown that has been in place for much of this new year.
While for much of the rest of the world, 2021 has been the year focused to get back to the normal course of things, for Finland, however, it’s been yet another year where things have hardly seemed normal given the continuation with strict social distancing norms (and the absolute lockdown on things).
For a country that hardly sees the sun and is gripped in darkness for the better part of the year, things such as the night curfew are but normal and a regular or recurring phenomenon as far as 2021 is concerned.
Yet, a thing has stood out and is making heads turn at this point and perhaps rightly so. The key question at the moment regarding Finland is this: how come Finland received no fewer than 10,000 visitors from another European destination despite having travel restrictions in place?
It’s been common knowledge that the Finnish government had put tight travel restrictions in place since the start of January 2021, a facet that led to a sudden and sharp dip in international visitors in the beating heart of Scandinavia.
Yet, what’s rather surprising to note is the fact that recently around 10,000 visitors came calling from Estonia. What is bound to take many by surprise is that the cross-border travel between Finland-and-Estonia continues unabashed and unsullied by the restrictions.
Furthermore, the Port of Helsinki confirmed the fact that as many as 10,600 visitors arrived in the country from Estonia last week.
And while many touted the activity as rather surprising (and rightly so), here’s what the Helsinki Times had to report on the sudden spring in tourist movement:
As per the Finnish Border Guard, nearly half the travellers arriving from Estonia (45 per cent) last week were logistics workers such as traffic operators, around 15 per cent provided essential services and another 15 per cent were Finnish citizens. The border guard turned back 64 passengers.
Ships travel between the two countries on a daily basis, and Finnish authorities have to coordinate with their Estonian counterparts to facilitate border control. Since January, the Port of Helsinki has received 10,000 to 13,000 visitors on average every week.
Moving on, it’s important to note that last year, when the pandemic was at its peak, the cross-border travel between countries like Finland and neighboring Norway or Estonia had dropped drastically, spiraling by as much as 90 percent.