• (c) Jussi Hellsten/Visit Helsinki

Gymnaestrada helps Helsinki set new record for visitor numbers in July


A record number of visitors stayed overnight in Helsinki this July. The number of overnight stays (bednights) was up 25 percent among foreign visitors and 10 percent among domestic visitors. This growth was generated mainly by the 15th World Gymnaestrada.

According to figures published by Statistics Finland this week, accommodation providers in Helsinki recorded a year-on-year increase of 18 percent in the number of overnight stays in July. The increase in the number of visitors both from abroad (+25%) and from other parts of Finland (+10%) was very impressive. In terms of the total number of overnight stays in Helsinki, July was the best month recorded to date. In addition, around 14,000 Gymnaestrada participants were accommodated at schools in and around Helsinki.

“The record number of overnight stays in July demonstrates the importance of major events in terms of tourism. Helsinki will continue to work hard to attract these events in the future,” confirms Tuulikki Becker, CEO of Visit Helsinki.

The effect Gymnaestrada had on tourism in Helsinki this summer is also reflected in the figures for country of origin and duration of stay. The biggest increases in July were among visitors from countries with the most number of participants, namely Germany, Switzerland and Norway. Most participants also stayed in Helsinki for most or all of the one-week duration of the event, as a result of which the average stay among foreign visitors in July was 2.09 nights compared to 1.92 nights in July 2014.

The Helsinki Cup international junior soccer tournament also brought many visitors to Helsinki in July, as did the large number of international cruise ships. Total figures for the 2015 cruise season are expected to be as impressive as last year.

In Finland as a whole the number of overnight stays among accommodation providers was up 0.7% in July year-on-year. Overnight stays by domestic visitors were down by around one percent but up 6.5% among foreign visitors.

Domestic visitors and other key markets compensate for drop in Russian visitors

Overnight stays in Helsinki by visitors from other parts of Finland have been on the rise almost throughout the start of the year.

“Our popular events and the most international and diverse offerings in Finland are attracting more and more domestic visitors to the capital city,” Becker says.

The decline in the number of visitors from Russia, the biggest incoming market in recent years, has been offset by the growing number of visitors from Finland and other major markets, especially Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Japan and China. The number of visitors from Russia is down 42 percent this year compared to the same period last year.

“Despite the significant fall in the number of visitors from Russia, we still expect the total number of overnight stays in Helsinki to increase slightly this year. Helsinki’s strength is that we have numerous alternative major markets that we also focus on,” Becker explains.

Further information:
Laura Saksala, Communications and Press Officer, Visit Helsinki, laura.saksala@hel.fi , tel. +358 40 351 6576