Tourism was a small industry in Finland, accounting for only 4 percent of total exports in 1987. Since 1982, however, Finns had spent more abroad than foreigners had spent in Finland, and economic policy makers sought to foster tourism to reduce this deficit. Tourists found many attractions, both natural and cultural, in Finland; moreover, facilities for vacationers were well developed. Public transport--including tourist buses and ships plying scenic interior waterways--offered easy access to the country's main tourist areas. In the mid-1980s, Finland had about 550 hotels and 230 boarding houses. During the 1980s, the number of rooms in hotels rose, as did the number of places in youth hostels. Campers found plentiful sites, including some with firewood and even shelters, along an extensive network of trails. Information offices in major cities in Finland and abroad offered information and orientation for visitors.
Despite manifold attractions and excellent facilities, the tourist industry lagged during the 1980s. Tourist earnings declined by about one-third during the early 1980s, perhaps as a result of Finland's relatively high cost of living, which made the country somewhat expensive for tourists.
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