Helsinki sets 2024 food theme in motion at January’s Travel Fair

Helsinki’s status as a unique culinary destination has been selected as a key theme of the city’s tourism, marketing and communications for the year 2024. The City of Helsinki is looking forward to co-creating this special year devoted to food together with the capital’s local businesses and residents.
People celebrating Helsinki Day at the Pohsjoisesplanadi street.
The City of Helsinki is looking forward to co-creating this special year devoted to food together with the capital’s local businesses and residents. Photo: Lauri Rotko.

One of the first events kicking off the Helsinki’s special year devoted to food is the 2024 Matka Travel Fair, taking place 18–21 January at Helsinki’s Expo and Convention Centre Messukeskus. The Travel Fair in Helsinki is the largest annual travel industry fair in the Nordic countries. 

“When it comes to culinary tourism, Helsinki’s strengths are its unique personality and versatility. Our internationally recognised restaurants, eclectic market halls, craft distilleries, microbreweries, local bakeries and talented chocolatiers are all shining examples of our high-quality gastronomy. The number of restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars in Helsinki also demonstrate our city’s excellent food standards,” said Nina Vesterinen, Tourism Director for the City of Helsinki.

The Helsinki City Strategy 2021–2025 and Helsinki Tourism and Event Programme 2022-2026 emphasise the significance of Helsinki’s culinary scene in terms of the city’s appeal, and both contain measures to globally promote Helsinki’s image as a must-see culinary destination.

”We believe Helsinki has great potential to differentiate itself as a unique food mecca on the international stage,” Vesterinen said.

Helsinki to stage several delectable food-themed events in 2024

Culinary experiences are becoming an increasingly significant attraction factor in global tourism, which is why Helsinki has made food one of its key themes. One of the Finnish capital’s highlights in 2024 is guaranteed to be the ceremony unveiling the latest Nordic restaurants to be awarded MICHELIN Stars, hosted by the City of Helsinki on May 27. It is one of the most recognised food industry events in the world and will gather top Nordic professionals to Helsinki.

Another event planned for the city’s food-themed year is an early summer food festival, which will offer restaurant, tourism and event industry representatives an excellent opportunity to  showcase Helsinki's diverse food culture to city residents and visitors. A search for partners interested in co-creating the coming events will be launched at the Travel Fair on 18 January 2024.

Helsinki to arrange information session for food and tourism professionals 

In connection with the Travel Fair 2024, the City of Helsinki will invite food and tourism operators from Helsinki to learn more about the open call for partners for the planned 2024 food year events. The meeting will include presentations from the City of Helsinki's Economic Development Director Marja-Leena Rinkineva, Head of Brand and Events Sanna Forsström and Tourism Director Nina Vesterinen, along with the Chef and Kitchen Manager of Restaurant Palace Eero Vottonen and Chef and Food Designer Linnea Vihonen.

City representatives available on day for professionals

Representatives of the City of Helsinki will also be available to answer questions 9.00–18.00 on 18 January 2024 at the Fair’s Matka Business Forum, stand 7c141. This first day of the Matka Travel Fair is devoted to industry professionals. City representatives will also give a presentation at the opening of the Fair, when Tourism Director Nina Vesterinen and Special Advisor for Sustainable Tourism Jukka Punamäki will talk about the steps Finland’s capital is currently taking towards its goal of becoming the world's most sustainable tourist destination.