An increasing number of the customers to the shops in Ivalo comes from Russia's Kola Peninsula. Photo: Thomas Nilsen(Photo: Thomas Nilsen)
More and more of the parking slots outside this food-store in Ivalo are occupied by Russian cars. Finnish Lapland experienced a 36 percent increase in traffic over Salla and Raja-Joosepi border check-points in 2012.
Finland’s northernmost border check-point to Russia is Raja-Joosepi on the road between Murmansk and Ivalo.
Last year, a record high of 128,054 border-crossings were counted. That is good business for both the shops in Ivalo and for the winter-tourist destination Saariselkä. Early January is peak-season for Russian visitors. With New Year holidays in Russia and New Year’s sales and Santa Claus still active in Lapland, the number of Murmanskers queuing up at the border grows from year-to-year.
At Salla, further south in Lapland, a total of 221,667 border-crossings were counted in 2012, up from 162,647 the previous year. From 2007, the number of border-crossings at Salla has tripled, reads the statistics posted on the portal of the Finnish Border Guard.