Positive exception. Finland Convention Bureau (FCB), a part of Finpro, supports the organisation of international congresses in Finland. The past year was the best congress year in Finnish history, with growth in the field persisting for years. The number of congresses held in Finland has grown, despite the economic decline, from 595 conventions in 2012 to the current 708.
The previous year saw attendance figures of 79,000, which meant a tourism income of €130 million. The corresponding income for 2010 was €72 million. The Helsinki region hosts over half of these international congresses – significant events are, however, held in all of the largest cities throughout the year. The top five congress cities are Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Turku and Jyväskylä.
FCB's Convention Director, Leena Sipilä is extremely happy with this growth. "Our previous best year had been 2013, but last year exceeded even 2013's figures, despite our fears that the economic decline would take its toll," says Sipilä, clearly pleased. "We are more than happy." Congress travel is a positive exception in Finland's economic situation, especially compared to tourism in general, whose growth rate is declining. The massive decline in Russian tourists has been challenging to leisure travel companies, who are now trying to attract new growth in Europe and Asia. Congress travel agents have also realised the possibilities for growth in the Asian market. "We are organising our first corporate event marketing show in China, because we believe there are new opportunities and customers to be found there," says Sipilä. "Our strengths, in addition to know-how, are safety and accessibility."