Finland gets set for conferences boost

Finland is to pull in congress revenue worth b76m (£47m) this year with 183 international association conventions hosting 45,000 delegates, according to the Finland Convention Bureau. As in previous years, the Helsinki region will account for nearly half of the congresses held throughout 2002. The Finnish capital itself continues to top the list with 56 congresses, with an estimated 19,000 participants. In second place, the city of Espoo has 27 conferences confirmed, which will account for nearly 3,600 delegates. Third in terms of the number of congresses is Tampere, drawing in 24 events and a total of 6,500 participants. Turku, which has so far attracted 22 conventions, has risen from fifth to fourth place this year, and is followed by Lahti, Jyväskylä, Oulu and Kuopio. Leena Yli-Piipari, marketing manager at the Finnish Tourist Board in London, said: “Finland is still a relatively new and unknown destination and that gives it considerable appeal to meetings organisers. Plus, as far as scientific conventions in particular are concerned, the country has lots of technical know-how and researchers in many different fields, so it often attracts clients that deal with those specific areas.” Six of this year’s conventions – five in Helsinki and one in Lahti – will host more than 1,000 participants. The two biggest events will be the FISITA (International Federation of Automotive Societies) 2002 World Automotive Congress and the 7th World Congress of Nurse Anaesthetists. Both are scheduled to take place in June in Helsinki with an anticipated 2,000 delegates each.

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