Finnish boating industry calls for change in school summer holiday timing
Finnish boating industry companies are saying that the schools' summer holiday period should be shifted back towards August by at least two weeks. Changing the holiday timing this way would boost domestic travel, given the typically uncertain weather conditions of Finland in the month of June and the inclination of holiday-making Finns to head abroad then.
Summer season in Finland is very short, so changing the holiday timing this way would boost travel, particularly in Finnish Lakeland and Coastal Finland Padasjoki by the Lake Päijänne is one of the most popular guest harbours of the Finnish Lakeland.
"We have seen it this year, too, how the short duration of the travel season in Finland puts business owners at guest marinas in a very challenging position; at present, the travel season is just way too short. It is no wonder that the Finnboat membership are concerned about it: in a survey among our members, as many as 91% were in favour of shifting back the summer holidays," says Jarkko Pajusalo, Managing Director of the Finnish Marine Industries Federation Finnboat.
"Our summer season is very short, so changing the holiday timing this way would boost travel, particularly in Finnish Lakeland and Coastal Finland," adds Timo Lappi, Managing Director of the Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa.
A report commissioned in spring 2018 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland indicates that shifting back the summer holidays by just two weeks would serve to create 1,300 more man-years in the travel industry and improve the services available for travellers, including boaters, particularly in August. The travel industry reckons that the positive effects would be even more substantial, were the holiday period shifted back to begin only at Midsummer and terminate at the end of August.
"Therefore, Finnboat takes the stand that the Finnish government should launch a comprehensive study on the effects of changing school summer holiday timing both on education and the national economy," Pajusalo states.
Historically warm summer was favourable for boating
Finnboat believes that the proposed change of summer holiday timing and the resulting boost to domestic holiday travel would also strengthen the Finnish boating industry's position as a significant provider of employment. The companies in the field directly employ 3,500 people, while the total employment effect lies between 4,000 and 6,000 people. Boat manufacturing is going strong in Finland, unlike in the other Nordic countries. In the previous year, as much as 73 per cent of Finnish production was exported elsewhere.
"The fact that Finnish boats enjoy an excellent reputation on the global markets and have a strong position internationally is fundamentally due to our lively domestic boating culture. In this changing world, the only way to create genuinely long-lasting solutions and competitive advantages is to provide products and services that are world-class," says Anders Kurtén, the new Board Chairman of Finnboat.
"The most recent proof of Finnish boat manufacturing competence is this year's European Best of Boats Awards competition; out of the 22 finalists chosen, altogether six boats came from Finland, and at the awards ceremony, the Bella Falcon BR7 was awarded as the top boat in the Best for Beginners category," Pajusalo says.
The mood in the industry is cheerful, even during the darkest winter weeks, as the historically beautiful weather of last summer was favourable for boating, boosting domestic boat sales as well. The warm summer spelled growth particularly in the sales of personal watercraft and small leisure boats.
"After last April, each subsequent month has represented growth over the corresponding month last year. Additionally, the number of watercraft registrations for the entire year is up by over 7 per cent, and the boatyards have seen their order books fill up, which puts them in a good position for next season," Jarkko Pajusalo says.
Another token of the positive market atmosphere was the popularity of this year's Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show, the annual boating industry event arranged in August. The event, held in beautiful late-summer weather, was attended by almost 13,000 visitors, an increase of 16 per cent over the previous year.
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managing director Jarkko Pajusalo