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Press Releases, 3/30/2016

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs opens 13 new Visa Centres in China

Press release 57/2016
30 March 2016

Applying for a visa will be easier in China as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is opening 13 new Visa Application Centres.

"The number of Chinese tourists in Finland is rising rapidly. We want to support this trend in every way we can," says Marja Rislakki, Ambassador of Finland to China.

"This gives a strong signal to the Chinese that we wish them welcome to Finland."

A year ago, the Foreign Ministry opened Visa Application Centres in Beijing and Shanghai. On 5 April the services will be brought close to the clients in Xi'an, Chongqing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou.

Visa Application Centres will be opened in April also in Shenyang, Wuhan, Changsha, Kunming, Jinan, Nanjing, Chengdu and Fuzhou.  The Visa Application Centres operate in larger units shared by other Schengen countries.

The decision to grant a visa will be made at the missions as before. It is in the interest of the clients that they do not need to travel to Beijing or Shanghai but they can visit their nearest Visa Application Centre to submit an application and have their fingerprints taken.

"This is a major improvement in service, because the area that we serve is nearly as large as Europe," Rislakki says.

The number of visas granted to Finland in China was about 17,000 in 2014 and about 21,000 in 2015.

Many attractions in Finland

Attractions in Finland that the Chinese find fascinating include our beautiful and pure nature, the northern lights and the midnight sun, as well as Finnish food and culture, and the all-time favourite Santa Claus.Chinese tourists' overnight stays in Finland totalled 182,000 in 2015. Compared to the previous year, overnight stays were up by 41.2 per cent.

The Chinese use clearly more money during their visits than other international travellers. According to Visit Finland, their average expenditure per day in May–October 2015 was about EUR 165 for purchases and EUR 73 for services. This is more than twice as much as Russian visitors spend and more than three times the sum of money the Japanese or South Koreans spend in Finland.

The majority of travellers from Asia to other destinations do not stop for a visit in Finland at all nowadays.

While the visa application procedure becomes easier, Visit Finland will launch a new StopOver Finland travel concept in May in cooperation with Finnair and Finnish travel businesses.StopOver Finland will offer interesting packages for both those who will stop for a connection flight in a few hours and travellers staying in Finland for a some days.

"We hope that these joint efforts will help keep up the strong growth trend in tourism," Rislakki notes.

Further information about the new Visa Centres: Kirsi Puronpää, Team Leader, Embassy of Finland in Beijing, tel. +86 10 85198300, kirsi.puronpaa@formin.fi, and Patricia Löflund Siclait, Team Leader, Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai, tel. +86 21 52929900, patricia.loflund-siclait@formin.fi (time difference + 5 hours).

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