Helsinki attracts a record 72,000 congress visitors
Congress visitors at the Iittala & Arabia Design Centre. Photo: Kim Öhman
Helsinki succeeded in attracting more congress visitors in 2017 than in any year previously. The number of international association meetings increased by almost a third compared to 2016. Helsinki is currently the most popular congress city in the entire Nordic region.
Helsinki enjoyed a record tourism year in 2017, which is reflected also in the number of congresses that were organised in the Finnish capital. According to the latest statistics, Helsinki hosted a total of 367 international association meetings that were attended by almost 72,000 congress visitors last year.
“The number of both congresses and congress visitors in 2017 far exceeded the figures we achieved in previous years. Our previous record was set in 2016, when we had around 61,000 congress visitors, so 2017 really was an outstanding year,” says Ines Antti-Poika, Convention Director at Helsinki Marketing.
Tourism in the Finnish capital is currently growing faster than in neighbouring capital cities, and as a congress city too Helsinki is more popular than any of the other Nordic cities.
“Congress organisers have exceeded even their own expectations regarding the number of attendees. For example, originally 3000 people were expected to attend the World Glaucoma Congress, whereas the actual figure was 3500. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in turn was attended by no less than 8100 delegates,” Antti-Poika adds.
Helsinki is recognised worldwide as a functional congress city
Attracting international conventions to Helsinki requires long-term work, and the competition in the industry is tough. According to the latest Union of International Associations (UIA) statistics, Helsinki is ranked 15th as a congress city and ahead of such cities as Stockholm and Copenhagen.
“Helsinki is recognised worldwide as a reliable and functional city. We have already confirmed dozens of congresses for the next couple of years. Attracting major events to Helsinki takes years of work, but organisers of smaller congresses may decide at shorter notice. Our advantages include the quality of our services and our close cooperation with local actors,” Antti-Poika continues.
Helsinki is a forerunner in the congress industry also in terms of sustainable development. The Global Destination Sustainability Index measures the environmental deeds of cities and the performance of their local convention bureaus, in our case Helsinki Marketing, as well as the commitment of service providers to sustainability. According to the latest GDS rankings Helsinki is ranked in 6th position.
Congress activities include various forms of cooperation and new services
Helsinki’s international congress marketing is the responsibility of Helsinki Marketing, which cooperates with numerous local actors. For example, a two-year pilot project initiated together with the University of Helsinki is looking to attract the attention of the international scientific community in particular. The aim is to enhance both the reputation of the University of Helsinki and awareness about Helsinki as an attractive congress city and innovation platform.
Helsinki is working hard to stand out from the competition by developing digital tourism services. A new MyHelsinki.fi website now serves visitors in six languages. In addition, a new mini program for Chinese visitors is now available and Helsinki will continue to work closely with Chinese internet service giant Tencent to further develop the application.
Helsinki Marketing, Convention Director
+358 50 3863 472
Helsinki Marketing is a company owned by the City of Helsinki. It is responsible for operative city marketing and business partnerships for Helsinki. Helsinki Marketing interacts with local residents, visitors, decision-makers and experts.