Helsinki is a great city for a long weekend vacations. Helsinki has excellent international flight connections and daily ferry operates to and from Estonia, Sweden and Germany. Train connections transport you for example to Moscow within few hours. (Visit Helsinki.) Growing tourism could be one of the cures for the economic downturn. There are a lot of attractions and sights to see in Helsinki. Air is fresh to breath, there is a great choice of restaurants and affordable accommodation is easy to find… Or is it? Do we have enough room for foreign visitors in Helsinki?
Why do tourists choose to spend more and more nights in other Nordic capitals rather than in Helsinki? According to Helsinki Times tourists spent a total of 7.5 million nights at hotels and other suitable accommodation establishments in Stockholm last year. In Helsinki they had approximately 3.3 million overnight stays. (Helsinki Times 2014.) What tempts foreign visitors in Stockholm? What could be our secret weapon against recession?
Ari Björkqvist, a programme director at the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, estimates that due to Stockholm better financial situation, the number of hotels and other accommodation establishments has increased sharply there yearly. (Helsinki Times 2014.) So there is an alarming lack of hotel and hostel rooms in Helsinki. Tuulikki Becker, the managing director of Helsinki Travel Marketing, tells that room capacity has hardly grown in Helsinki, but in rival cities it has grown considerably (Helsinki Times 2014). It has had an immediate impact in overnight stays. So the tourists don´t have enough room here!
This city needs more hotels, hostels and other suitable accommodations. Restel Hotel Group is planning to open huge hotels located in city centre. Restel Group includes a major part for corporate traveling in its strategy. (Restel 2013). Business visitors are very important to Helsinki, because they bring more money than regular tourists. The total number of overnight stays recorded in Helsinki decrease by 3% from the previous year. There was a fall in stays by international business travelers (Visit Helsinki). Sokos Hotels took notice of the gap and encourages business travelers by specific loyalty card offering benefits for corporate travelling (Sokos Hotels). In my opinion, that is clever strategic planning.
The global demand for hotel services for corporate traveling is growing constantly. A business type of hotel in the city centre is a great utility, because that is the location where usually all the important business happens. (Helsinki Times 2014.) The hotel has to be located near and easy to find after a long workday. All the luxury in the hotel gives the overnight stay an extra convenience. Anyway, those are the requirements I´m looking for in a hotel when travelling abroad.
After all, I think Helsinki does not need Guggenheim Museum to attract tourists. Helsinki needs more fine hotels for business and other foreign visitors. That could increase Helsinki´s economic situation and therefore Finland as well. Invest in corporate travelling, that might be our competitive weapon!
Helsinki Times, news from Finland. Helsinki losing battle over tourists. Internet news 12.3.2014. http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/9735-helsinki-losing-battle-over-tourists.html. Read 15.3.2014.
Restel. Restel Hotel Group to open a new hotel on Bulevardi in Helsinki. Internet news 22.4.2013. http://www.restel.fi/ajankohtaista/en_GB/restel-bulevardi-eng/. Read 15.3.2014.
Sokos Hotels. Corporate traveling in S-Group’s hotels. Internet news. https://www.sokoshotels.fi/en/corporate-travel/corporate-traveling-in-s-groups-hotels. Read 15.3.2014.
Visit Helsinki. Good Connections. Internet news. http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en/professional/why-helsinki/12-reasons-visit/good-connections. Read 15.3.2014.
Visit Helsinki. Helsinki tourism statistics. Market Report / December 2013. Internet news. http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en/professional/why-helsinki/statistics-and-research/helsinki-tourism-statistics. Read 15.3.2014.