Finland is Nordic number one in congresses
Finland hosted more congresses last year than any other Nordic country. Congresses form a considerable source of revenue for the travel industry.
The Union of International Associations’ yearly report declares that Finland hosted the most international congresses among the Nordic countries in 2016. Finland hosted 651 international congresses for various organisations, with a total of 101,514 attendees.
The number of congresses varies greatly year to year. Last year saw many major congresses that are not organised every year while the overall number of congresses was also high.
“We have worked hard to make Finland an attractive venue for congresses, and it shows in the statistics”, Mervi Toivonen from Finpro’s Finland Convention Bureau explains.
Solid Finnish know-how
The main reasons to organise congresses in Finland include safety, stability and strong infrastructure. When deciding on a region, one key element is accessibility.
Around 70% of the congresses were held in Helsinki, but organisers are starting to show interest for other locations as well as capital cities. The second city for congresses was Tampere, but Turku, Espoo, Jyväskylä and Oulu also hosted a number of large international congresses.
Finland has a strong international reputation when it comes to organising conventions and congresses.
“We have a committed, professional workforce with training and experience in events along with a network of volunteers. We have a genuine interest in producing welcoming, high-quality events for all. Finland is simply a joy to visit”, M.sc Tarja Kohila summarises. She has worked actively over the years to bring international congresses to Finland and has encouraged other scientists to hold their events in Finland as well.
Investment in congresses would benefit tourism in Finland
Finland has the potential to become an even more attractive destination for congresses and business events, but domestic investments have been conservative so far. One limitation for major congresses in Finland is our insufficient accommodation capacity.
“We welcome all new hotel projects with open arms. At the moment, we can organise a congress for 8,000 attendees, but that’s our limit”, Toivonen states.
Finnish university cities have their own Convention Bureaus that work tirelessly to bring large congresses to Finland. However, their staff is limited, and to make matters worse, universities have been forced to downsize their human resources, hindering their ability to compete for events.
The average congress visitor is likely to spend up to five times more on their trip than a typical tourist would. Additionally, many visitors would consider coming back for a holiday after a congress.
“We could grow our congress industry even more through investments, as our robust science communities and dependable organisers form a solid platform. The great thing is, the demand is there”, Toivonen encourages.