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Home BUSINESSRovaniemi expects industrial boom
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Thu, 26 Mar, 2015 03:25:24 AM
Lapland Chamber president in an exclusive interview
Better flight connections, setting up more hotels emphasised
FTimes Report by Silvia Wang, Mar 26

According to Lapland Chamber of Commerce President Timo Rautajoki, engineering industry is going to take the top position in Rovaniemi economy, with tourism following close.

Being the centre of Finnish Lapland and on top of the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is ideal for arctic businesses, said Rautajoki in an exclusive interview with the Finland Times.

The chamber leader said, ‘The total value of potential investments in Rovaniemi is more than 200 billion euros. During the Arctic Business Forum 2015, more than 100 companies of southern Finland expressed interestin opening branches and operating businesses in Lapland, with Rovaniemi being the first choice.’

The companies keen to operate in Lapland include industrial, building, metal, machinery, mining, maintenance for mining industry, and consultant ones.

According to Rautajoki, industrial jobs in Rovaniemi will see a significant rise in the near future.

There are two interesting mining projects in the offing in Lapland – Suhanko mine project and Rhombus Gold project. Suhanko mine project is scheduled to commence within the next five years. They will need 800 employees including 300 workers in the gold mine 60km away from Rovaniemi. The machinery and the mining plans are made in the south but the mining is done in the north. These mining projects will not only create more job opportunities but also strengthen the cooperation between the north and the south.

Another growing business in Rovaniemi is tourism. As Rautajoki pointed out, “The decreasing number of Russian tourists has not affected the tourism industry in Rovaniemi in general.  Tourism is still growing continuously. The only concern for me is that we do not have enough facilities to fulfill the demand. We need better flight connections and more hotels should be built.”

Timo Rautajoki is very optimistic about the city’s business potential. ‘It looks positive. The growth has been continuing all the time. The effects of the economic crisis in Finland are not felt that strong in Rovaniemi.”

“We are lucky that Nokia has never come to Rovaniemi. The economical shrink due to Nokia hasn’t affected us that much,” quipped the business magnate.

In his opinion, the biggest obstacle to growth in Rovaniemi is the administration not realizing the city’s potential and not being prepared enough. ‘So far, we have enough rooms and facilities for offices for all of the companies. We are ready for the next five years. But when the real boom starts, there are not enough facilities and planning for the new coming companies.” The city needs a stronger growth vision.

The chamber leader finds communication between the business community and the administration of upmost importance for further improve of Rovaniemi’s business environment.

The companies and the authorities must know what each other’s plans and together create a better vision for Rovaniemi. Moreover, promoting Rovaniemi to southern Finland and other parts of the world is essential. Even though Rovaniemi is significant part of Lapland, the fifth most important region for Finland’s export, many people in the south do not know what industries are in Rovaniemi or not even in Lapland. It suggests the city needs stronger promotion nationally and globally. A city department focusing on business promotion is higher recommended, said Rautajoki.

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