Govt moves to allow Chinese driving licence in Finland

Rovaniemi to see more Chinese tourists

11 Aug 2017, 08:23

  DF Report

Chinese tourists in Rovaniemi.. DF File Photo

The government has taken a move to allow Chinese driving licence in Finland, which will make a positive impact on the tourism in Rovaniemi as the number of Chinese tourists in the city has increased significantly in recent years.

“We have been facing problems as we have been unable to serve Chinese tourists with car rental or let them take part in snow scooter safaris on public snow scooter routes. This would be a very important decision for tourism businesses,” Visit Rovaniemi Managing Director Sanna Kärkkäinen told the Daily Finland.

Kärkkäinen said the move will definitely see a further growth in the inflow of Chinese tourists.

She said Visit Rovaniemi has been spreading information about Chinese tourism and its growth in many channels in Finnish and international media and via stakeholders. Visit Rovaniemi is partnering with many tourism companies like incoming agencies, car rental companies and hotels which are specialised in Chinese travel that have brought up the importance of this issue.

“Visit Finland/Finpro has been playing an important role in this procedure. We are interested in developing Chinese tourism in Rovaniemi and Lapland – and very keen to develop summer tourism by providing matching tours and excursions to Chinese travellers,” said Kärkkäinen.

Chinese tourists may soon be allowed to drive in Finland when the driving licence legislation is amended. Unlike in Sweden and Norway, people holding driving licence from mainland China are not permitted to drive on Finnish roads.

If the driving licence legislation reform proceeds according to plan, Chinese tourists may be allowed to drive as early as next summer, according to the Finnish Language daily Lapin Kansa.

Proposed in the legal text version of the bill, those who hold driving licence issued outside the so-called Contracting State should also be accorded the right to drive in Finland in the future, for example during the period when they are on holiday in Finland , Ministry of Transport and Communication Director-General Olli-Pekka Rantala told the Lapin Kansa.

According to Rantala, the changes will apply to cars as well as snowmobiles.

China is a non-Contracting State, and it is also outside the Vienna and Geneva road traffic conventions.

Based on what has transpired during the rounds of consultation, the expansion of the right to drive has positive effect on hotel and restaurant sectors as well as to the police. According to the police, the move will simplify monitoring of driving licence.

Rantala also said that driving licences issued in China should have information written in Latin alphabet and should also indicate which motorised vehicle is the licence intended for.

The tourism industry, among others, has advocated for the Chinese driving rights since the proportion of Chinese tourists has increased in recent years. Chinese tourists spend hundreds of millions of euros during their visits in Rovaniemi and other parts of Finland.