The government gave the green light to Finns planning summer holiday trips. In Finland, you can travel as long as the tourism industry and tourists follow the health and safety guidelines drawn up jointly by the ministries, the message is.
The opening of domestic tourism is not expected to significantly increase its spread in the current epidemic situation, the government outlined. Also, city dwellers traveling to cottage municipalities no longer have to worry about cottage overloading local health care.
If following the instructions is lax and the coronavirus bursts into a new round, the instructions can change quickly.
"This could still be a record summer"
- The government's signal is really important for tourists and consumers that it is ok to start moving, Markus Heiskanen, an entrepreneur at Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydäme in Rantasalmi, says with satisfaction.
Heiskanen tells wild numbers from recent weeks.
- The number of online bookings has doubled in the last six weeks. Over the last two weeks, online bookings have grown at a record pace, ie quadrupled. I have never seen anything like it.
This probably says that people have started to fall on the walls. This could even become a record summer for domestic tourism.
Hotel entrepreneur Markus Heiskanen is looking forward to a record-breaking summer.
Photo: Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän
Ministries also compiled national health, hygiene and safety guidelines for tourism businesses and for use by tourists. These include instructions for coughing, safety intervals and cleaning. If a tourist has symptoms, the staff of the travel company should be informed immediately about the symptoms.
The safety instructions largely follow the previous instructions of the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the National Institute of Occupational Health.
Restaurants and cafes also have their own restrictions and instructions, which limit the number of customers and prohibit, for example, buffet service.
Heiskanen does not believe that possibly the busiest summer season created problems in following the instructions. One thing in the claims to think about.
- We were left wondering how we can credibly tell customers that distances of a couple of meters are kept. It is impossible to think that some policeman is present all the time.
Dining requires the most arrangements.
- We have a large restaurant with several departments. We halve the interiors, in summer there is a terrace. In portions everything goes: food, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Heiskanen thinks that getting labor can be difficult in some places, because more pairs of hands are needed everywhere for serving and additional cleaning.
There is enough space in the smoke sauna for safety gaps
In Iisalmi, the Spa Hotel Runni opens after Midsummer. Initially, it will open the side of the spa hotel, later a smaller mansion hotel, depending on the booking situation.
The phone has started ringing more and more especially since last week.
Satu Jokihalme, CEO of Spa Hotel Runn, believes that the government's tourism guidelines will not cause any particular problems. The hotel was accustomed to other added cleaning and hygiene instructions as early as March before the epidemic forced the hotel to close.
Satu Jokihalme, CEO of Spa Hotel Runn, in the Mannerheim Suite.
Photo: Spa Hotel Runni
Breakfast treatment causes the most exceptional arrangements. The option is an a la carte breakfast, or take away.
- When half is allowed to be taken to the restaurant space, for us it means 150. One hundred is probably a more probable maximum and that too will be spread over several hours. Safety distances remain when the entire large space is deployed.
Runi has a huge smoke sauna. The official number of saunas in a three-table sauna room can be 32 at a time.
- With safety gaps, ten people can easily go on the benches. Last winter, students experimented with a smoke sauna world record and there seemed to be about 80 of them.
For the cottage tenant a headache
The security instructions of the ministries make Juha-Pekka Olkkola, the managing director of Lomarenka, who carries out summer cottages, pensive. During the Corona period, a company that operates like an accommodation establishment has already instructed on how to clean cottages, for example.
The guidelines state that it is the responsibility of the cottage tenant to map the risks associated with the service and prevent health problems ”.
- This is a rather tough sentence for us, which we take seriously, because, like a hotelier, we are a responsible party if something goes wrong.
- It is clear that it is quite difficult to demand a hospital-level hygiene requirement from anyone. other than from the hospital. You can say in Finnish that you try to do your best, and let's see that it is enough.
According to Olkkola, the instructions for cleaning agents are already followed in the cottages, that disinfectants should not be used in kitchens, but a weakly alkaline detergent, a disinfectant in sanitary facilities.
Olkkola says that Finns want to move. The figures are “confusing”, with reservations already doubling compared to last year.
He emphasizes that for the success of a tourist summer, the responsibility cannot lie with the accommodation alone.
- Customers and consumers are also a challenge.