Cross border traffic trends are described using three variables:
Internal border traffic refers to border crossings between Finland and other Schengen states. Border checks are not carried out at internal borders, meaning for instance, traffic between Finland and the Nordic countries and Finland and Estonia, constitutes such traffic. Significant growth in internal traffic in 2008 was primarily due to the Baltic countries’ joining the Schengen Agreement.
Border crossings at the external border refers to border crossings between Finland and states other than Schengen states. At the external border, border checks are usually carried out without exception. A valid travel document, or travel document and visa, are required for crossing the external border. For instance, traffic between Finland and Russia, and Finland and the United States, constitutes such traffic. In the indicator, external border crossings includes also traffic subject to a visa requirement. The marked decline in external border crossings in 2008 was primarily due to the Baltic countries joining the Schengen Agreement.
Border crossings of third country nationals holding a visa have been documented separately since 2002. For instance, traffic between Finland and Russia, and Finland and China, constitutes such traffic.
Development of the border traffic is linked to the economic development. Global economic changes are quickly reflected into border crossing volumes. A good example of this was the period 2008 - 2012 when the number of external border crossings temporarily decreased, but later the economic improvement has increased the volume sharply. This is particularly seen in external border crossings in the Finnish eastern border and airports. The improvement of the Russian economy and the prosperity of the population has directly increased border crossings. Growth of border crossings at Helsinki-Vantaa airport is particularly increased by the traffic from Asia. Most of the external border traffic to Finland is tourism and this creates economic welfare and jobs in Finland.