The Highlights in HEL event organizers and guests. (Photo: My Helsinki)

Summer congress season in Helsinki exceeds expectations

Helsinki enjoyed another busy summer hosting congresses. Over 38,000 people attended congresses in Helsinki between May and September. They generated around EUR 50 million in tourism income for Helsinki. The second-ever Highlights in HEL event, which showcases local expertise, was also a big success.

According to the latest international congress statistics published by the Union of International Associations (UIA) in June, Helsinki became the most popular city for international association meetings in the Nordic region last year and the 15th most popular congress city in the world. Helsinki’s popularity was demonstrated again this summer, as around 150 international association meetings attracted over 38,000 congress visitors to the Finnish capital. This represents an increase of more than 8000 congress visitors compared to the previous summer. These visitors generated around EUR 50 million in tourism income for Helsinki.

“Not only has Helsinki earned a reputation for being a functional and reliable congress city, a lot of specialised expertise can also be found here – not to mention a very high level of research in many scientific fields,” says Ines Antti-Poika, Convention Director at Helsinki Marketing.

This number of congress visitors exceeded all expectations this summer. The World Glaucoma Congress was attended by the highest number of participants in its history, attracting almost 3500 participants instead of the anticipated 3000. The annual congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI 2017), the biggest scientific congress in the field of allergology in the world, was also attended by a record number of participants, 8100, which again exceeded expectations. This event alone is thought to have generated over EUR 12 million in tourism income for Helsinki.

“We received really positive feedback from participants of both congresses regarding how well these events were organised and about the quality of Helsinki as the host city. There is enormous competition among cities around the world to host major international meetings like these, so the positive feedback and success of these events will hopefully encourage other organisers too to shortlist Helsinki as a potential host city in the future,” Antti-Poika adds.

Highlights in HEL event focuses on the Baltic Sea

The Highlights in HEL event was organised for the second time this year by Helsinki Marketing, which hosted guests from 18 international associations, PCOs’ and cruise operators. The event showcased local expertise and a wide range of partners for these potential customers.

“This event really exceeded my expectations,” commented one of the guests. “We got a good idea of what this city has to offer. I really hope that we will be able to bring our international congress or one of our smaller seminars to Helsinki in the future.”

The main theme of this year’s Highlights in HEL event was the Baltic Sea and Finnish cleantech expertise. The guests had the chance to visit the world’s first LNG icebreaker, Polaris, and Aker Arctic’s ice laboratory. The programme also highlighted Finnish design and service design. The participatory approach was widely praised by the guests.

“The Highlights in HEL event was a big success in every way, and our guests found the programme to be refreshingly different. The concept fits in well with the city’s marketing strategy, according to which Helsinki will be known in the future as a city of powerful people, acts and encounters,” comments Ines Antti-Poika.

More information

My Helsinki - Meetings and Events