The negotiations, which are led by the Ministry of Employment and Economy and the Ministry of Transport and Communication, will aim to re-establish the service under a fixed-term contract. Overnight services ceased operation on the route in 2006.

The intention is to present a proposal in time for the 2021 draft budget, which is due to be presented for review by the government on October 5.

The negotiations will focus on determining the potential levels of traffic for the service and the necessary resources required, and are part of the government’s Sustainable Tourism 2030 programme. The programme aims to enable sustained growth in the nation’s tourist sector in accordance with the principles of low environmental impact, accessibility, and the ability to operate all-year-round.

The news follows the publication of a government-backed study in March 2019 by economist Mr Pasi Holm, which recommended the reintroduction of the service to address a lack of accessibility to the tourist regions of North Savo and Kainuu.

The study highlighted estimates by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Authority (FTIA) that the service would cost €1.5m annually to operate.