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Santa Claus declared bankrupt

Russian visitors to Rovaniemi were big business. Not that much anymore.

Slump in Russian tourists to Rovaniemi is bad news for Christmas-themed business. 

Everyone has to pay taxes, even Santa Claus. This week, the district court of Lapland in Finland declared Dianordia, the company that runs Santa’s office on the Arctic Circle bankrupt.

The company has an outstanding tax debt of €206,000, reports Lapin Kansa.

Rovaniemi has over the last decades built big business by promoting itself as the hometown of Santa Claus. In Christmas seasons, charter planes from all over Europe crowd the local airport. Loads of tourists from Asia are flying in to make a selfie with Santa. And no secret, thousands of Russians from neighboring Kola Peninsula, Karelia and St. Petersburg region have boosted the Santa Claus businesses.

In the last two years, the numbers of Russian tourists have dropped dramatically, especially last winter due to the collapse of the Russian ruble.


Santa Claus in his office in Rovaniemi. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Santa Claus office is one of three companies in Rovaniemi offering tourists a possibility to meet Santa Claus.

Explaining the bankruptcy, CEO Jorma Kariniemi says to YLE he expects the decision to be overturned. Kariniemi assures that the debt situation can be settled with the tax authorities.

Interviewed by Lapin Kansa Kariniemi says his compay has a week to arrange the cash. “Half of the funding is already in place,” he says.

“Slowdown in Russian tourism has been a big factor,” explains Jorma Kariniemi.