Helsinki is the most interesting tourist destination in Finland this summer

The prospects for Helsinki’s summer tourism season look positive. The capital’s summer will get a boost from a variety of diverse events and new attractions. Helsinki is already expected to attract Finnish, European and American tourists in the summer almost at the same level as in the years before the coronavirus.
Teurastamo is one of the many unique venues in Helsinki, offering things to do all summer long.  Photo: Jussi Hellsten
Teurastamo is one of the many unique venues in Helsinki, offering things to do all summer long. Photo: Jussi Hellsten

Helsinki is the most interesting tourist destination in Finland, and it just keeps on developing. Helsinki was chosen as the Finnish Travel Destination of the Year already in 2022. The city will continue to invest heavily in tourism and events and, in line with the city strategy, it wants to show the way towards an even more sustainable, smart, vibrant and functional city for tourism and events.

Helsinki’s summer tourism season is full of new and renewed things

This year, new attractions are opening in Helsinki alongside old favourites, including the renovated Hakaniemi Market Hall, the Amos Andersons Hem Home Museum and, in the autumn, the Culture Barracks. In addition, the Helsinki Biennial and its artworks will once again take over Vallisaari and, more than before, the rest of the city. Other new attractions include, for example, the electronic dance music festival U Nation at the Kansalaistori Square at the turn of June and July and the hop-on hop-off bus from Mellunmäki metro station to Sipoonkorpi National Park.

“Kaivopuisto Park will once again host events, such as the performances of the musical Mamma Mia in July. The summer of culture will be complemented by the much-anticipated Tom of Finland and Albert Edelfelt exhibitions at Kiasma and Ateneum. There will be numerous events and exhibitions around the city at the same time as Helsinki’s accomodation offering is becoming more diverse, new restaurants are opening in the city and the product offering is being renewed,” says Nina Vesterinen, Tourism Director at the City of Helsinki.

Helsinki interests tourists!

The year 2022 and early 2023 have been a time of exceptional international visibility for Finland and Helsinki. There are many reasons for this: The NATO membership, the success in the world’s happiest country rankings for several years in a row, the debates on the functioning of Finnish society and good preparedness related to the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s war of aggression, and most recently, the buzz around the Eurovision Song Contest, have all had a positive impact on the image of Finland and Helsinki around the world. As a result, international tour operators and media have been exceptionally interested in what Helsinki has to offer and the work Helsinki is doing to promote sustainable tourism and responsible products.

“The expectations of tourism companies themselves are also positive. According to our pulse survey, more than three out of four Helsinki-based tourism companies believe that the summer will be either good or very good,” says Vesterinen.

Tourist numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels

Thanks to the tourists arriving from Europe, Helsinki is already very close to the pre-pandemic tourist numbers this year. Only the number of Russian tourists is lower than before due to the war of aggression launched by Russia in Ukraine. The highest numbers of flight bookings to Helsinki have been made from Germany, the USA, the UK and France. In addition, a large number of tourism-related searches have also been made from Spain and Italy. In the summer, Helsinki is also expected to attract large numbers of Finnish tourists, as well as Swedish and Estonian tourists.

“Helsinki’s aim is to increase the amount of time that tourists stay in the city. Increasing this time is also the best way to promote tourism from the point of view of sustainability, climate change and the economy,” says Vesterinen.

However, there are also a number of uncertainties related to the development of tourism. For example with regard to China and Japan, tourism has taken off more slowly than expected. The current overflight ban due to sanctions against Russia is disrupting the air traffic between Asia and Helsinki. There are also a number of uncertainties related to the development of the global economy. On the other hand, the number of international congresses in Helsinki is increasing, but it has not yet reached its peak. Congress visitors are important for Helsinki as they stay longer than leisure travellers and spend more money than what is the average. This is why Helsinki wants to help attract large congresses to the city. International cruise ship visits to Helsinki are expected to exceed 90 this season.

Tourist Information offers tips on Helsinki for travellers – and also for city residents

One of the sure signs of summer is the opening of the Helsinki Tourist Information services for summer. In addition to the permanent service point in Aleksanterinkatu, Helsinki Tourist Information will open a service point between the Old Market Hall and the Market Square in the Biennial Pavilion on 29 May.

The green-clad Helsinki Helpers will also appear on the streets in early June. The Tourist Information services will be available again this summer in as many as 16 languages.  The Tourist Information services will also be open to Helsinki residents who want to look at their home city for a day from the perspective of a tourist.

“If you are celebrating Helsinki Day or expecting visitors, our tourist information personnel will be happy to give you tips on the many things Helsinki has to offer,” says Mari Somero, Team Manager from Helsinki Tourist Information.