Helsinki to host significant tourism summit and partner with large Chinese company
The City of Helsinki has been chosen to host the annual World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit in 2019. The decision was published at this year’s WTCF Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit in Los Angeles on 19 September 2017. At the same time, it was announced that Chinese Internet giant Tencent has chosen Helsinki as the partner city for its new mobile application.
Established in 2012 in Beijing, the aim of WTFC is to offer a platform for international tourism cooperation and sustainable development of tourism. Helsinki became a part of the WTCF network in 2014. Beijing and Helsinki have been sister-cities since 2006.
“The membership has proved useful especially in terms of business connections, as it has opened up new cooperation opportunities in China. Cities are becoming increasingly influential in the tourism industry as well and thus it is important for Helsinki to be a part of the city network”, says Helsinki Marketing CEO Laura Aalto.
Having the annual tourism summit, accompanied by extensive media coverage, in Helsinki is also an excellent opportunity for coverage in China. The summit brings numerous high-level officials and top players of the tourism industry to Helsinki.
“Getting to host the annual event of the WTCF network shows that Helsinki’s reputation as a skilled and reliable conference host and an attractive destination is strong. It is great to see that the accessibility, good infrastructure, urban environment and functionality of Helsinki is highly regarded and internationally recognised”, notes Helsinki Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen, who was one of the main speakers at the Los Angeles summit.
Helsinki chosen as partner city for China’s most popular social media
According to a recently published agreement, Chinese internet giant Tencent has chosen Helsinki as the partner city for its new mobile application. The new mini application offered to almost one billion WeChat users is useful to tourists, among others.
The destinations and events of Helsinki are presented by means of images, texts, videos and interactive maps. The users can also make a travel plan in the application. In addition to the mini application, the partnership will make Helsinki visible in other Tencent services as well.
The cooperation between Helsinki and Tencent increases Helsinki’s recognition and attractiveness among Chinese tourists. The WeChat service is currently used by more than 960 million people.
“The partnership with a large Chinese company is a tribute to the tourism in Helsinki and to our functional City. We are a unique test environment for a new application. The information shared through the application is a big possibility for the companies in Helsinki”, says a delighted Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen.
Number of Chinese tourists in Helsinki increasing rapidly
The registered overnight stays at the accommodation businesses in Helsinki have more than doubled over the last five years.
In 2016, the number of registered overnight stays by Chinese visitors (incl. Hong Kong) was almost 105,000. During the first six months of 2017, the number of overnight stays by visitors from mainland China increased by 43.6 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The increase in the number of Chinese tourists has been supported by Finnair’s strong Asia strategy, owing to which the air service between Helsinki and China is excellent.