Santa sets off from Arctic Finland on his annual Christmas journey

Rovaniemi, Finland has grown a Christmas tourism industry based on Santa's Arctic identity.

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Families gathered in Rovaniemi, Finland to wave Santa off as he embarked on his annual journey around the world delivering gifts to children.

[Santa declares Christmas season ‘open’ in Arctic Finland]

The first leg of his journey will take him to the North Pole to stock up his sleigh with gifts. Santa will then collect more reindeer before starting his longest day’s work of the year.

Lying on the Arctic Circle in Northern Finland, Rovaniemi has capitalized on Santa’s Arctic identity to build a Christmas tourism economy — and plans are afoot to substantially increase it.