Porsches and Bentleys fill Helsinki Airport as Russian tourists head to Europe | Finland

Porsche, Bentley and other luxury cars with Russian license plates fill the parking lot of Helsinki Airport. Finland becomes an important transit country for Russian tourists flying to Europe.

After Moscow’s invasion, the EU closed its airspace to Russian planes Ukraineforcing anyone wanting to travel to Europe to go over the border or take detours using non-Western airlines.

After the end of Russia’s Covid-19 restrictions in July, the number of travelers from Russia increased and the backlash is increasing. Europe before allowing Russian tourists while the war continues.

A quick stroll through the Helsinki Airport parking lot revealed dozens, if not hundreds, of high-end cars with Russian license plates, including the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan and the Porsche 911 Turbo S.

“It doesn’t understand me,” said Finnish traveler Jussi Hirvonen after leaving the garage. “I would like them not to be here until the situation in Ukraine is resolved.”

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that Finland has become a “transit country” for Russian tourists. “Helsinki Airport currently has a lot of Russian tourism,” he added.

Finland announced last week that from September 1 will limit the number of Russian tourist visas to 10% of current visas, following dissatisfaction with Russian tourism amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Russians continue to travel to Finland with visas issued by other EU countries in the Schengen border-free travel zone. “They come here with Schengen visas issued by different countries and then continue through Helsinki airport,” Haavisto said.

According to a survey conducted by the Finnish border service in August, about two-thirds of Russians crossing Finland’s eastern border do so with a Schengen visa issued by a country other than Finland.

“Hungary, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece and Spain usually issue visas to Russians and are usually among the countries that issue the most visas every year,” said Mert Şaşıoğlu, a border guard official. Many eastern EU members stopped issuing tourist visas to Russians shortly after February 24. invasion, but Russians with visas issued by other EU countries are admitted to all EU countries.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Tuesday that he may seek a “regional solution” to ban Russian tourists if EU member states fail to agree on a bloc-wide sanction, and hopes to hold talks with Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Poland next week. on the sidelines of the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague.

“First of all, we are looking for a European solution, because it is the most sustainable and legally correct,” G. Landsbergis told reporters in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

“If we do not achieve this, we do not rule out the possibility of looking for a regional solution that would include the Baltic countries, Poland and possibly Finland,” he added, admitting that such a move would be “difficult.”

Haavisto said that Schengen rules do not allow Finland to close its borders to certain nationalities, as such sanctions can only be decided jointly by the EU.

“Since Finland and the Baltic countries are planning to limit these visas, it would be good if all EU countries take similar decisions,” he added.

Many Finns shared this sentiment at the airport. “It should be an EU decision to close the border,” said one traveler, Jussi Hirvonen.

The Nordic country intends to raise this issue at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Czech Republic on August 30.

Comments are closed.