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Home BUSINESSAsian interests in Rovaniemi on rise
Mon, 31 Oct, 2016 01:59:39 AM
ITB Asia Singapore 2016
FTimes Report, Oct 31
Rovaniemi Mayor Esko Lotvonen. FTimes File Photo
The growing interest of Asian travellers and tourism entrepreneurs in Rovaniemi and Lapland was clearly visible in the ITB Asia expo held on October 19 to 21 in Marina Bay Sands of Singapore, local media reported quoting Rovaniemi Mayor Esko Lotvonen.
ITB Asia is an annually held three-day B2B trade show and convention for the travel industry. The event organised by Messe Berlin is designed to become the primary event for the Asia Pacific travel industry, much like its parent event – ITB Berlin, reported Finnish language daily Lapin Kansa.
Finland was the Partner Country of this year’s ITB Asia Singapore. A nearly 70-member Finnish delegation, including Rovaniemi’s key tourism enterprises, took part in the expo and had almost a thousand sales negotiations in the three days.
Asian shop in Rovaniemi. FTimes Photo
Finland in the event highlighted the northern lights to midnight sun, relaxing moments in the fresh air in Finnish forests, lakes, archipelago and sauna, as well as shopping Finnish design items and meeting the Moomins or Santa Claus as its tourist attractions for stopover travelers in Finland. 
On the occasion, Mayor Lotvonen, accompanied by Santa Claus, met Singapore’s Tourism Minister S. Iswarin.
“Asian travel agencies are much sensitised about investing in expansion in Rovaniemi. They were asking about new accommodation projects from 2018 onward. In addition to Chinese tourism entrepreneurs, Taiwanese, Australians and Singaporeans have also been highly active,” said Lotvonen. 
Asian shop in Rovaniemi. FTimes Photo
Asian contacts with Rovaniemi have grown significantly over the past few years, mostly in tourism, education, research, and arctic politics.
Last year, the number of registered overnight stays of Asian travellers in Rovaniemi rose to the tune of 50,000. This year the number has grown by more than 20%. Singaporeans accounted for the biggest rise of 66%.
Mayor Lotvonen’s address at the tourism trade show was heard by about a thousand Singaporeans who had bought a trip to Rovaniemi. Lotvonen also met Singapore’s Arctic officials led by Deputy Minister Sam Tan.
Tan, who is responsible for Arctic co-operation, described Singapore’s interests, especially in rising seas and possible new waterways due to global warming. Singapore is one of world’s most notable seafaring centres. The country is an active observing member of the Arctic Council.
During the Singapore visit, Lotvonen also met with Singapore's Ambassador to Finland Jayalekshmi Mohideen.
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