The competition for conference tourists is intense. Last year, the five most popular conference cities in Finland were Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Espoo and Oulu.
Finland continued its run as an attractive conference country last year, hosting a total of 682 conferences (708 in 2014) and 75,846 delegates (79,000 in 2014). According to delegate numbers, the most popular conference cities were Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Espoo and Oulu.
- “Even though the number of hosted conferences decreased slightly from last year, the overall performance was good considering the global economic situation. We must continue our persistent efforts to attract conferences, because international events constitute a highly significant source of income for Finland. The many people attending the events use plenty of tourist services in different areas during their short visit,” says Mervi Toivonen of Visit Finland. Finland Convention Bureau, a part of the same organisation, is responsible for promoting the visibility of Finland as a conference country.
Nearly 76,000 conference tourists spent approx. EUR 124 million in Finland last year. The sum has increased by nearly 50% since the beginning of the decade; in 2010, conference tourists spent slightly over EUR 70 million in Finland. A conference tourist spends 4–5 times more during a visit than a regular tourist.
Helsinki by far the most attractive conference location
Helsinki attracts the most conferences and conference tourists per year. While Helsinki hosted slightly over 270 conferences with over 35,000 attendants, runner-up Tampere hosted 66 conferences with over 7,000 conference tourists.
- “Helsinki is a relatively obvious choice as a conference site in Finland, because it is easy to reach internationally and provides many opportunities for international events. However, Tampere, Turku and Oulu, also in the top five, have managed to find their strengths and attract conferences with their novelty,” says Toivonen.
On an international level, Finland’s strong points are a good reputation and competence as a conference host as well as its novelty as an event destination. Compared with better known conference countries, Finland’s competitive edge in the race to attract conferences also includes cleanliness and an exotic quality.
- “We invest in increasing awareness of Finland as a conference destination, particularly in the growing markets in Asia. The Asian market is viewed as a major opportunity for conference travel. In March, we hosted our first Meetings Industry market event in China. The event attracted plenty of interest and proved that Finland is an interesting destination for event organisers,” says Toivonen.
TOP 5 conference cities based on the number of conferences in 2015:
1st Helsinki 275
2nd Espoo 86
3rd Tampere 66
4th Turku 58
5th Jyväskylä 53
TOP 5 conference cities based on the number of delegates in 2015:
1st Helsinki 35,253
2nd Tampere 7,068
3rd Turku 6,011
4th Espoo 5,954
5th Oulu 4,289