Construction, tourism, mining and logistics driving business in Lapland

Business is booming in Finnish Lapland! According to the Lapland business review report, the development of turnover continued to follow a positive trend in 2018, with the turnover of all industries in Lapland growing by 3.4 percent and the highest growth rates recorded in construction and tourism services.  Economic interest in the north is on the rise, and new investments are expected in the bioeconomy sector, among others.

According to preliminary estimates, the combined turnover of companies based in Lapland was approximately EUR 13.8 million in 2018. Manufacturing industries accounted for approximately half of the turnover of Lapland-based companies, and turnover from industrial exports was EUR 4.2 billion. Industrial exports grew by 2.9 percent in Lapland in 2018.

Construction and tourism grew the most in 2018, long-term trend development strongest in mining operations

Strategy Manager Mervi Nikander from the Regional Council of Lapland says that many industries are currently experiencing strong growth in Lapland. In 2018, the industries that recorded the highest increases in turnover were construction and tourism services. Other industries that experienced strong growth included accommodation and catering services as well as transport and storage. The development trend of personnel numbers, however, has remained more moderate compared to that of turnover.

According to Nikander, another thing worthy of note is that Lapland has experienced positive economic growth in almost all industries for nearly ten years now.

As regards long-term trend development, the business review report states that the mining industry has recorded stronger turnover and personnel growth over the long term than other industries. Behind the mining industry, industries that have recorded the highest long-term turnover development are construction, tourism services, and accommodation and catering.

All of Lapland’s tourist centers have recorded positive turnover development for the past three years. This trend continued in 2018, with the strongest growth in turnover recorded in Saariselkä and the Rovaniemi area.

There are numerous specialized industries in Lapland

In the Lapland business review report, the specialization of business operations was examined by comparing the relative shares of the number of personnel in each industry in Lapland to corresponding shares in the entire country. According to this index review, Lapland has specialized the most in operations that support the mining industry, the mining of metal ores, the operations of travel agencies and travel organizers, the manufacture of basic metals, accommodation and forestry, and logging.

Major investments being planned

According to the Arctic Business Forum’s Yearbook 2019, the most significant upcoming investments are expected to focus on manufacturing industries and bioeconomy, mining operations and tourism. Examples of major bioeconomy investments in Lapland include Metsä Fibre Oy’s EUR 1.5 billion Polar King project in Kemi and the approximately EUR one billion Boreal Bioref project in Kemijärvi. As regards the tourism industry, there are several investments in different stages of preparation being planned at the various tourist centers of Lapland. The development of the Arctic Ocean railway took a step forward in May 2019 when the company of Peter Vesterbacka, who is also heading the Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel project, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Norwegian Sør-Varanger Utvikling development company on the planning and realization of the Arctic Ocean railway. This logistics investment has been estimated to be worth approximately EUR three billion.


Based on the data of Statistics Finland’s trend indicator service, the Lapland business review report was compiled in cooperation between the Regional Council of Lapland, the ELY Centre for Lapland, the Lapland Chamber of Commerce, Lapin Yrittäjät, Finnvera, Business Rovaniemi and Sea Lapland Development Centre. Read the report at Lapin lots (at the moment only in Finnish).