Morning headlines: Monday 20th January 2020

News Now Finland morning news headlines and weather first, every weekday at 09:00.

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Capital hotel construction: Experts warn there may be too many rooms

Dozens of new hotel projects underway or planned in the capital city region, potentially adding thousands of new hotel rooms; but experts say it’s likely this will lead to over-capacity without a significant increase in tourist numbers. A 430-room Sokos hotel at the new Mall of Tripla is the latest newcomer to Helsinki’s hotel scene, but plenty more hotels – especially big name international brands – are due to open their doors in the next couple of years. Among the new arrivals are Scandics at Helsinki Railway Station and on Annankatu; Hyatt’s Grand Hansa Hotel in the Seurahuone building; and the country’s largest hotel complex with more than 700 rooms at Helsinki Airport. “As thousands of new hotel rooms are coming to the market in that short period, it’s certain that the current volume of tourism is simply not enough” says Timo Lappi, CEO of the Finnish Hospitality Association. Read more about the international brands coming to Finland and how the capital region might simply end up with too many hotel bedrooms in our original story here.

Citizenship applications from Iraqis on the rise

The number of Iraqis applying for Finnish citizenship is increasing. According to new figures from Migri there were 1588 applications from Iraqi nationals to become Finns during 2019. That’s up from 972 the year before. The increase can be traced back to 2015 when there were tens of thousands of asylum seekers arriving in Finland from the Middle East – many were granted asylum and permanent residence, and have now continued on their path to becoming Finnish citizens. Overall the number of people applying for Finnish nationality is up slights to just over 10,000 in 2019, from 9600 the previous year.

Police arrest two in MP’s home robbery

Police have arrested two Lithuanian men who are suspected of breaking into MP Ruut Sjöblom‘s (NCP) home in Tuusula earlier in January. Poolice believe the men were responsible for a string of burglaries between 10th and 16th December in Kerava, Espoo, Tuusula, Järvenpää, Orimattila and Lohja. The men were detained last Thursday in a hotel room which was also found to contain a number of items stolen in the burglaries. The men were arraigned at the Eastern Uusimaa Distric Court on charges of aggravated theft.

Lännen Media: Most MPs oppose a flight tax 

Most Members of Parliament oppose the introduction of a flight tax in Finland, to combat the climate crisis. According to a survey of parliamentarians by Lännen Media, just 18% are in favour of a flight tax while 77% are against it. Out of the 108 MPs who responded to the survey, the majority of Greens and Left Alliance MPs say they’re in favour of it; while National Coalition Party, Centre Party and Finns Party MPs are against it. Last year a citizen’s initiative to introduce the personal flight tax gathered more than 55,000 signatures.

Popular pet store plans stock exchange move

The popular pet supplies chain Musti & Mirri is considering an IPO and listing shares on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. The move would provide the parent company Musti Group with extra capital of up to €50 million for its growth strategy, according to a press release. “The Musti Group is the leading pet food company in the Nordic countries, and our omnichannel business model addresses the needs of pets and their owners in Finland, Sweden and Norway” says CEO David Rönnberg. “People increasingly treat their dogs and cats as family members and spend more money on high quality food and more diverse products and services” he adds.

Monday morning weather

Scattered showers move across the country during the course of today towards the east, and there’s a few centimetres of snow comming to parts of Ostrobothnia and Lapland this morning. The best of the sunshine this morning is in the capital city region. The weather picture changes later on Monday with a storm moving in. Winds intensify in the Bay of Bothnia, Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 20th January 2020 / Credit: FMI