Finland has a lot do to catch up with neighbouring countries

Researchers examined the country images people in Singapore associate with the Nordic countries.
Although the images associated with Finland are positive based on the collected data, we still have a lot to do to catch up with the other Nordic countries.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing service sectors in the world. It is also increasingly important for the Finnish economy and a lot now depends especially on tourists from Asia. But the competition for Asian tourists is tough. Today, the Asians can choose from a large number of interesting tourist destinations all over the world and it is thus not at all obvious that Finland will be their choice of travel destination from all the options available.

‘Finland has all the prerequisites for becoming a major travel destination among Asian tourists. However, hard work is required to build an attractive country image and market it in Asia. Especially, the ability to use affective images and messages that resonate with Asian tourists is crucial’, explains Professor Arto Lindblom from the Aalto University School of Business.

In their research project, researchers from Aalto University and the University of Turku focus on the impressions Asian tourists have of the Nordic countries. The project was launched a year ago in Japan and now it has continued with a survey conducted in Singapore. The survey was carried out at the beginning of this year and it assessed the country images people living in Singapore associated with Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Almost 600 Singaporeans responded to the survey. The Finnish, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian embassies and the European Union Centre in Singapore participated in gathering the survey material.

‘Our questionnaire survey shows that the Nordic countries are seen in a rather positive light in Singapore. A similar observation was made a year ago in Japan. Like the Japanese, the Singaporeans especially associate an image of a high quality of life with all the Nordic countries surveyed. The education systems in these countries are also regarded highly", says Postdoctoral Researcher Taru Lindblom from the University of Turku.

Keeping up with alternative destinations is challenging

However, there were also clear differences between the Nordic countries examined. There were differences particularly in the factors contributing to affective images and, on the other hand, in the impressions Singaporeans associated with the sights, cultural offering or, for example, shopping opportunities provided by the countries. Of the countries studied, Sweden was the one that did best in terms of these different image indicators. Norway also scored high in many of the indicators. The results for Finland pointed in two slightly different directions. On the one hand, Finland scored well in each investigated main dimension, but on the other hand, it fell clearly behind the other countries in several individual indicators.

‘Although the images associated with Finland are positive based on the collected data, we still have a lot to do to catch up with the other Nordic countries. What is crucial regarding country images is precisely how well we do compared with the other alternative travel destinations and countries’, stresses Professor Lindblom.

Although Singapore is a small country and its role in Finland’s tourism industry is not very significant, the survey still provides a good understanding of how the people with the most purchasing power in Asia experience Finland. In particular, the study helps to understand the images associated with Finland in relation to the other Nordic countries.

The aim is to expand the research project to other Asian countries in the near future. 

Further information:
Arto Lindblom, DSc (Econ), Professor, Aalto University
[email protected]
Taru Lindblom, DSc (Econ), Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Turku
Miikka J. Lehtonen, DSc (Econ), visiting Assistant Professor, Aalto University

  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!

Related news

Groups of students sitting in work lounge inside the School of Business / Photo by Aalto University, Mikko Raskinen
Research & Art Published:

School of Business ranked second in B2B marketing in prestigious international journal’s evaluation

Fruitful co-operation between Finnish universities and excellent university-business collaboration essential
Mallinnus aerosolien leviämisestä bussissa.
Press releases, Research & Art Published:

New simulation code to eliminate need for super computers in modelling indoor aerosols

Focused on public indoor environments, the code will be openly available for researchers and other professionals
Research & Art Published:

BEYOND MATTER aims to develop novel solutions for the accessible documentation and presentation of exhibitions

BEYOND MATTER is an international, interdisciplinary project on the revival of past landmark exhibitions, the documentation of current exhibitions and the dissemination of documentation along with actual artworks –
both materially and immaterially present – in innovative ways.
Research & Art Published:

SPICE promotes social cohesion by citizen curation of cultural heritage

An EU-H2020 funded SPICE aims to promote social cohesion by researching and developing tools and methods to support citizen curation with groups at risk of exclusion to actively interact and participate in a shared culture.