HELSINKI - Finland will close its border to Russian tourists from midnight local time (2100 GMT), which is expected to lead to a significant drop in cross-border traffic, the government said on Thursday.

The inflow of Russians is now seen as endangering Finland's international relations, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told a news conference.

Entry for family visits, as well as for work and studies, will still be permitted, he added.

The Finnish government, wary of being a transit nation into western Europe's passport-free Schengen zone, on Friday said it planned to halt tourism from Russia and that a decision would be finalised in the days that followed.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)