Before the coronavirus pandemic, tourism was one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Tourism is also extremely important for the City of Helsinki under normal circumstances: Helsinki is, after all, the most important tourist destination in Finland for both domestic and foreign tourists. Tourism also plays an important role in strengthening the city's competitiveness. At the same time, it is essential for creating a national and international image for Helsinki.
“As tourism recovers, we need to highlight Helsinki’s strengths such as safety, societal functionality, sustainability and space,” says Nina Vesterinen, Helsinki’s new Tourist Director.
In 2018, tourism brought Helsinki a direct income of around 1.6 billion euros, and the total annual income from tourism, multiplier effects included, was approximately 2.8 billion euros. Tourism also creates around 25,000 jobs.
In addition to tourism increasing investments, employment and tax income, it also makes the city livelier and allows residents to access a broader range of services. Tourism is also one of the few industries offering a considerable number of jobs for immigrants and young people. The multiplier effect tourism has on other industries is also significant. It is estimated that one tourist euro brings 56 cents to other sectors.
Helsinki tourism has been hit by coronavirus
During the coronavirus pandemic, tourism businesses in Helsinki have suffered more than in the rest of Finland. Around half of visitors to Helsinki are international and half are business travellers. The Helsinki Metropolitan Area has also been the subject of the most extensive and long-lasting coronavirus restrictions of all Finnish regions throughout the pandemic.
As society opens up again, Helsinki wants to invest even more in tourism development. The aim is for Helsinki to grow and renew in a sustainable and smart way. Investing in sustainability and knowledge management will create a clear competitive advantage. Helsinki is seeking to raise its profile through personalised and high-quality year-round tourist services, not forgetting the high-quality international events, congresses and corporate events that bring tourists to Helsinki all year round.
Being international is a value in itself for Helsinki, but it is also a central goal in the city’s business policy. A pleasant city whose residents are highly educated will attract foreign companies, investments and tourists.
Helsinki’s tourism to be developed by a tourism unit in the future
In order to manage and develop Helsinki as a tourist destination in a more systematic way, a new tourism unit has been set up in the city's Economic Development Division. Its tasks include promoting tourism in the city and developing the operating environment in a sustainable and intelligent way in cooperation with the tourism ecosystem. It is also responsible for providing tourist information services, increasing international cooperation and promoting tourism products, innovation, digitalisation and knowledge management.
Nina Vesterinen was elected as the new Tourist Director of Helsinki as of 1 August 2021. The Tourist Director leads and develops the future of tourism in Helsinki. Nina Vesterinen returns to her hometown Helsinki from her position as Tourist Director in Muonio. The aim is to make Helsinki even more attractive and sustainable as a tourist destination. The new tourism unit became fully operational on 1 September 2021.
Statistics on tourism in Helsinki are available at https://visitory.io/en/helsinki/