It was smiles – and a few tears of joy – all round as Newmarket Holidays’ inaugural Lapland Santa Experience took to the skies from Gatwick Airport on December 1st, heralding this month’s series of day trips from regional airports to remote Pajala – gateway to Swedish Lapland.
Accompanied by elves from the specialist tour operator’s Surrey HQ, the trip was declared a huge success by wide-eyed passengers and organisers alike, with the 150-strong group enjoying a day full of traditional Lappish adventures that included a husky-dog sleigh ride, encounters with reindeer, the chance to ride on high-powered ‘ski-doos’ and the ultimate treat – a magical ride through the forest to the remote hideaway of A Very Special Person. With each family group enjoying a private meeting in Santa’s living room, with ‘Mrs Christmas’ busy handing out warming hot lemonade to gleeful visitors, there were more than a few tears shed – especially by mums and dads accompanying their awe-struck offspring.
Organised by Newmarket in association with Pajala Airport and the local Lappish community, who are keen to see their local Arctic Circle region offer an alternative to their Finnish neighbour’s, this inaugural day drew wide coverage from Swedish media, with a phalanx of journalists and TV crews greeting the flight’s arrival at Pajala’s tiny airport.
Commenting on the day’s success, Newmarket Marketing Director Phil O’Sullivan was full of praise for the way in which the local community had gone out of their way to ensure that the visitors were treated to a truly magical, unforgettable experience. “This is Christmas as it’s meant to be”, said Mr O’Sullivan. “As an alternative to the mass-tourism and theme-park approaches of bigger resorts, this is a genuine Lappish experience that will be remembered by those that come forever.”