Press release 3 March 2020
AN ALL-TIME RECORD YEAR FOR INTERNATIONAL CONGRESSES IN ESPOO
In 2019, a total of 92 international association congresses were held in Espoo, with a record of almost 10,000 participants in total. The number of congresses increased by over 40 per cent on the previous year.
Congresses are economically important for Espoo. In 2019, the income received from tourism related to international congresses in Espoo amounted to EUR 13.3 million. Espoo also regained its position as the second most popular city for congresses in Finland in terms of the number of events. In terms of participants, Espoo is ranked third after Helsinki and Tampere.
“The excellent growth and record figures are the result of long-term efforts to market Espoo as a congress destination together with the local scientific communities and industry suppliers in the region. The coming years also look extremely positive. Espoo has usually drawn smaller congresses, but for the coming years several congresses with over 1,000 participants have been confirmed”, says Miikka Valo, head of Visit Espoo, which is part of Espoo Marketing.
“Currently, the facilities where the association congresses are held in Espoo are in intensive use. This fact and the upcoming large congresses encourage us to continue the work of ensuring that the planned new conference facilities will be realised during the next few years”, Valo adds.
When it comes to conferences, 2019 was a record-breaking year for the whole of Finland: A total of 835 international associations held congresses in Finland last year, with a total of 136,413 visitors. The previous record dates from 2017, when 791 congresses were held, with a total of over 111,000 participants.
Towards more sustainable congress arrangements
The City of Espoo aims to permanently become the most sustainable city in Europe. The city’s tourism organisation and the Convention Bureau – that is, Visit Espoo – supports this goal in their own work, and are currently creating a new sustainable tourism road map for the period from 2020 to 2030. The goal of increasingly sustainable meeting and congressional activities and event organisation is an important part of this plan.
Visit Espoo’s concrete measures in the plan for sustainable tourism have already been implemented in congress marketing. Amongst other initiatives, in 2018 Visit Espoo made its own Commitment to Sustainable Development (Sitoumus2050). According to the commitment, Visit Espoo pledged to only serve vegetarian food accompanied with fish that is sustainably fished from the Baltic Sea and surrounding lakes at the city receptions, with the aim of reducing food waste at the same time.
“For the first time, in the city’s hospitality applications of 2020 the applicants are required to provide information on how they would take sustainable development into account in the congress arrangements. From the beginning of 2021, the next step towards greater sustainability in congress arrangements will be taken when sustainability is made one of the selection criteria for the granting of hospitality. In addition, venues for city receptions are selected from responsible operators”, says Valo.
Visit Espoo’s new road map for sustainable tourism is based on goals such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, which the City of Espoo has undertaken to achieve by 2025. At the same time, the plan supports Finland’s new ten-year tourism strategy for 2019–2028, with the goal of becoming the most sustainable tourist destination in the Nordic countries.
Espoo Marketing Oy / Visit Espoo
Miikka Valo, Director, Conventions & Tourism
Tel. +358 43 824 6038