Visit Finland, the Association of Finnish Travel Agents AFTA and Travel Research Company TAK Oy have chosen Espoo as the first ever Travel Region of the Year in Finland. 111 municipalities, regions and provinces from which accommodation statistics are available throughout the year were involved in the comparison. From now on, the Travel Region of the Year in Finland will be selected annually. The aim of the distinction is to draw attention to matters the development of which tourism areas should target.
The regions were evaluated based on the following criteria: increase in the number of visitors arriving at registered accommodation establishments, increase in the length of stay of travellers and the even distribution of the number of overnight stays by tourists over the year, i.e. lack of seasonal variation. In addition, foreign visitors were interviewed in surveys done at the border and they were asked about their willingness to recommend Finland as a travel destination.
Long-term cooperation with local operators proves fruitful
The result is a consequence of Espoo Marketing Oy’s long-term cooperation with local tourist businesses and operators, and Visit Espoo’s methodical and targeted marketing activity to promote travel to the area, both in terms of tourism and travel to meetings and congresses. “Wonderful joint marketing over the years, development work and shared learning with Espoo’s tour operators were rewarded at the Matka Nordic Travel Fair 2019,” enthuses Jaana Tuomi, Managing Director of Espoo Marketing Oy.
Espoo is like Finland in miniature. “Espoo’s most attractive destinations are Nuuksio and Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art at WeeGee Exhibition Centre, innovation ecosystem Espoo Innovation Garden and the innovation tourism it brings and, more recently, the Waterfront Walkway Espoon Rantaraitti and the maritime Espoo, whose services are being constantly developed in the Rantaraitti development project,” says Tuomi. Every year, unique experiences and an active scientific community are attracting to Espoo not only tourists, but also a large number of international congresses and visitors to them. The new, free Tripsteri App Espoo application familiarises tourists and visitors with Espoo’s top destinations through themed and self-tailored tours, regardless of time and place.
Visitors in 2019 to be enticed by culture and top-class events
“2019 is a year of culture and top-class events in Espoo, the Travel Region of the Year. Events in Espoo will continue to become more diverse and international. Espoo’s location next to Helsinki, close to the airport and by good transport connections makes the city easy to reach,” says Miikka Valo, Director, Conventions & Tourism at Visit Espoo.
The number of overnight stays registered in 2018 in Espoo between January and November was 440,000, which represents a 7% increase over 2017. It is noteworthy that the increase was evenly spread throughout the year. The number of overnight stays for the whole year is confirmed in February. The average length of stay in Espoo is 2 nights and the average for foreigners, 2.9 nights. The largest foreign tourist groups between January and November 2018 were from Russia, China, Estonia, Poland and Germany. Between January and November 2018, the value of Espoo’s accommodation sales was €26.3 million.
Visit Espoo is part of city marketing company Espoo Marketing Oy, which is owned by the city. Espoo Marketing Oy attracts to Espoo companies, investments, visitors and congresses, and helps businesses to succeed.