Helsinki attracts a record number of congress visitors in 2016 – economic impact almost 115 million euros

A total of 286 international association meetings were held in Helsinki in 2016, and they were attended by 60,790 congress visitors.

Photo: Messukeskus, Pekka Hannila/Sorbass Oy

Several major congresses with over 500 participants each were organised in Helsinki in 2016. These included the Congress of the International Council on Combustion Engines (28th CIMAC World Congress), the 40th Nordic Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (NFOG 2016), the ICANN56 Policy Forum (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE 2016) and the European Association of Urban History’s 13th International Conference on Urban History held at the end of August.

The busy congress year was reflected in the overall number of visitors: Helsinki registered 60,790 congress visitors in 2016. In the previous record year in 2014 the number of congress visitors was just under 41,000. Congress visitors spend on average 1887 euros per person in Helsinki (Finland Convention Bureau’s 2013 Delegate Survey), so congress tourism has a significant economic impact on the metropolitan area.

“The growing hotel capacity in Helsinki will help us compete for bigger international congresses in the future. Last year alone our hotel capacity increased by a thousand new rooms, and this positive trend will continue with the opening of the St. George in 2017 and the Lapland Hotel Boulevard in 2018,” says Ines Antti-Poika, Convention Director at the Helsinki Convention & Events Bureau.

Helsinki is one of the world’s most popular congress cities: according to the latest Union of International Associations (UIA) statistics, Helsinki is ranked 24th.

“Our absolute strengths are not only our reliable reputation, the high quality of services, good connections, and safety and security, but also our leading expertise and the high standard or research in many scientific fields,” Antti-Poika adds.

“Helsinki’s marketing is being revamped, and one of our strategic targets is to attract even more international congresses, corporate meetings and business events. Helsinki’s position as a centre of expertise supports this aim. Congresses are an important way of enhancing awareness about Helsinki and increasing our appeal.”

Biggest congress in 2017 to bring almost 8000 visitors to Helsinki

In June 2017 Helsinki will be hosting the world’s biggest annual scientific meeting in the field of allergology and clinical immunology. An estimated 8000 people will be attending EAACI 2017 at the Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre. The congress is expected to generate over 15 million euros in tourism income for Helsinki. This is the first time that Helsinki will host the annual congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“We have been trying to attract the EAACI congress for over 10 years, and now finally all the hard work has paid off. Professor Antti Lauerma, Director of the Inflammation Centre at Helsinki University Central Hospital, will be serving as Chair of the EAACI Congress 2017,” Antti-Poika says.

Several major congresses will be held in Helsinki in summer 2017:

  • In June the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra will host the World Circular Economy Forum, which will be attended by an estimated 1000 participants at Finlandia Hall.
  • Also in June the 7th World Glaucoma Congress  will be attended by 3000 experts at Messukeskus.
  • In August the Worldcon – World Science Fiction Convention 2017 will be attended by 3000 science fiction fans at Messukeskus.
  • Also in August the Annual Conference of the Association for Medical Education in Europe will be attended by 3500 congress visitors.


Further information:

Helsinki Marketing Ltd
Helsinki Convention & Events Bureau

Ines Antti-Poika, Convention Director

+358 50 3863 472



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