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Design is a growing part of Helsinki’s tourism appeal

PRESS RELEASE 15.1.2015

The title of “City of Design” awarded to Helsinki by UNESCO in December 2014 further strengthens the role of design as one of the city’s key tourist attractions. Helsinki is often equated with design also in international listings of top destinations, in which the city continues to do well.

Recognition of Helsinki as a design destination has continued to grow, especially since it was named World Design Capital 2012. Both traditional and contemporary Finnish design can be found everywhere in Helsinki. The Design District in the city centre, the Arabia District near the old town, the flagship stores of world famous Finnish design brands, and small boutiques featuring up-and-coming designers are popular attractions among both foreign and domestic visitors from one year to the next. The overall concept of design also continues to expand in terms of tourism marketing.

In addition to traditional design, Helsinki stands out in terms of urban design and service design. Helsinki is committed to using design to develop more user-friendly services and an open city, which also provides direct benefits to visitors and is interesting in terms of tourism marketing,” says Tuulikki Becker, CEO of Visit Helsinki.

Design is also considered an important appeal factor in international listings of top destinations by the travel media, in which Helsinki continues to perform well. Condé Nast Traveler recently ranked Helsinki 9th on its list of Top 15 travel destinations of the year, while World Travel Guide put Helsinki in 8th on its Top 12 list.

Helsinki’s design offerings are also being pointed out to visiting travel bloggers and tour operators. Altogether 50 travel bloggers from around the world will attend the MATKA travel fair and get to know more about Helsinki as part of the Nordic Blogger's Experience (NBE) campaign that is being carried out together by Visit Helsinki, Visit Finland and the MATKA travel fair. In addition, Finnair has invited almost 200 tour operators to Helsinki on a FAM tour organised by Visit Helsinki.

Forecasting travel trends extremely challenging

The 2014 tourism year in Helsinki was marked by a noticeable decline in the number of visitors from Russia – by 17.3 percent year-on-year during the period January-October 2014. At the same time, a positive trend was seen in other incoming markets, such as the USA (+9.3%), Sweden (+4.1%) and Great Britain (+4.1%). The importance of the Asian markets continues to grow, with overnight stays by visitors from China increasing by a further 3 percent. Overnight stays by domestic visitors also increased, by 2.9 percent, helping boost total bednights by one percent compared to January-October 2013.

Forecasting travel trends is extremely challenging at the moment. The situation in Russia is having a big impact on us, of course, yet at the same time Helsinki is attracting more and more visitors from other major markets,” says Becker.

Further information: Tuulikki Becker, CEO, Visit Helsinki, tuulikki.becker@hel.fi, t. +358 9 310 36 391.

Press photos: http://materialbank.visithelsinki.fi/?cart=1260-dfkjghjaga&l=EN