Helsinki boasting 460 years of history
Helsinki is a modern city with a burgeoning smart tourism industry. In 2017, visitors to Finland’s capital reached record numbers, with in excess of 4.5 million people taking advantage of a destination that mixes high-tech and sustainable design with stunning arts and culture all in one compact and vibrant city.
Smart ways to get around the city
The city’s smart public transport system enjoyed a rise in user satisfaction over the last two years and Helsinki isn’t standing still. An ‘Uber boat’ system is under consideration and driverless buses are being trialled on open streets.
Helsinki has been ranked second at the Accessible City Awards in 2015. And, if you do need any extra help, multilingual ‘Helsinki Helpers’ are stationed at main attractions to offer assistance.
Visitors will see first-hand some of the 143 measures in place to help Helsinki become carbon neutral by 2035. The Helsinki Road Map prevents overcrowding and supports local business as it guides tourists around the city, while 75% of hotel rooms are certified environmentally friendly. Helsinki is also increasing the share of cycling, walking, and electric cars and trains.
An innovative approach to cultural tourism
Powered by its open approach to public data – available free for all since 2009 – Helsinki has become a hotbed of software innovation. One of the major successes is the MyHelsinki.fi website, an ad-free service platform featuring recommendations from the people who know the city best – the locals.
If you’ve come to Helsinki for its famous spa life, you won’t be disappointed. Saunas form an important part of Finnish culture and national identity, and there are plenty to choose from. Helsinki features a wide array of environmental friendly saunas that are made from sustainable wood and powered by water, solar heating and wind.
For more details, visit myhelsinki.fi
The European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative presented at the Haaga-Helia University
The European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative and the benefits that the title of the 2019 European Capital of Smart Tourism has brought to Helsinki were presented on 29 January 2020 to the students of the Haaga – Helia University. Jukka Punamäki, Senior Advisor at the City of Helsinki, shared with the students the initiatives and measures that transformed Helsinki into a smart tourism destination.
Digital Tourism think-thank global convenes in Helsinki
Helsinki, the 2019 European Capital of Smart Tourism, hosted the Digital Tourism Think Tank (DTTT) Global on 4 & 5 December 2019, with their main topic being Sustainability. The DTTT Global is an annual event that hosts high-ranking speakers, discussions and workshops, all with the aim of shaping a sustainable future for tourism and the overall travel industry. Lyon attended the event and talked about their significant win and becoming the 2019 European Capital of Smart Tourism. Helsinki too shared their best practices as tourism destination in Sustainability, Digitalisation, Accessibility and Cultural Heritage & Creativity. Find out more about the DTTT Global here.
Smart Tourism workshop in Helsinki
2019 European Capital of Smart Tourism Helsinki hosted a workshop for the cities that were shortlisted in both the 2019 and 2020 competitions. Representatives from the cities and the European Commission took the opportunity to share best practices and explore opportunities to tackle common challenges together.
See a range of examples of smart tourism measures in the Compendium of Best Practices.
European Tourism Forum
The European Tourism Forum is an annual event where travel industry representatives and associations, as well as other stakeholders have the chance to discuss policy with public authorities at EU, national and regional level. The future of the industry and of course smart tourism topics formed an essential component of this year’s forum. It was therefore fitting that the event took place in 2019 European Capital of Smart Tourism, Helsinki.
Find out more about the European Tourism Forum here.
Media visit to Helsinki
A group of European journalists were in Helsinki last weekend (13-15 September) to experience the smart tourism initiatives that helped the Finnish capital to become the 2019 European Capital of Smart Tourism.
The journalists met with Jenny Tiapale, Helsinki Marketing’s Head of Partnerships and Networks to discuss how the city is paving the way as an innovative destination.
The group ate at zero-waste restaurants, tried out the city’s interconnected transport system, took a boat trip to the Suomenlinna fortress – a UNESCO world heritage site and even had a go at 3D printing in the brand new Oodi Library.
See some pictures from the visit here.
2019 European Capital of Smart Tourism Helsinki presented at World Tourism Conference 2019
The 2019 European Capital of Smart Tourism Helsinki was represented atthe World Tourism Conference 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! Jukka Punamäki, Senior Advisor at the City of Helsinki, gave a speech at the conference’s session ‘Unique Tourism – Success Stories’ and shared with the audience the best practices that transformed Helsinki into a smart tourism destination.
The conference’s theme was ‘Beyond Tourism – Beyond Expectation’. The event served as a platform to explore new possibilities and potentials within the discovery of new frontiers in the tourism sector. Find out more about 5th edition of the World Tourism Conference here.
Think sustainably digital service
What if making sustainable choices was as easy as using your favourite app? This week, Helsinki has released a service that enables users – locals and visitors alike – to find the city’s most sustainable restaurants, experiences, shops and accommodation. The app also features a route planner which displays CO2 emissions per trip, to encourage users to switch to emission-free transport options.
This new digital service is based on sustainability criteria that have been tailor-made for Helsinki and comes as a result of a public survey, in which Helsinki residents expressed a desire to be supported in making more sustainable choices.
Find out more about Helsinki’s “Think Sustainably initiative” here.
Visit Finland annual meeting
The Visit Finland annual meeting is the most important gathering of tourism stakeholders in Finland. At the 2019 annual meeting, Helsinki’s achievement as European Smart Tourism Capital were presented to around 100 destinations and stakeholders in Finland, from all areas of the industry. Representatives of Helsinki highlighted the best practices for which the city was recognised.
Find out more about Visit Finland here.
Helsinki at IMEX 2019
Helsinki took part in the IMEX tourism fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Together with Lyon, the two European Capitals of Smart Tourism presented themselves as smart tourism destinations and also as leading locations to host congresses, corporate meetings, events and seminars.
Helsinki specifically focused on marketing itself as a smart and compact city, with the ambitions aim to become the world’s most functional city in the near future.
Find out more here.
Helsinki Tourism Seminar
In April, myHelsinki is holding a seminar for representatives of the tourism industry. City marketing employees, as well as local stakeholders, will take attendees through the many smart tourism initiatives in place in the Finnish capital, European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019.
For more details, see Helsinki’s “Roadmap for Tourism“.
Arrival of Helsinki´s hashtag sculpture
On 12 March, Helsinki, one of the two cities to hold the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019, put up its hashtag sculpture in Rautatientori Square, right outside the city’s Central Train Station.
The sculpture was awarded by the EU to celebrate the city’s success and to stand as a landmark to the four categories of the initiative.
Matka Travel Fair
The MATKA Travel Fair is the largest travel fair in northern Europe. At the fair, Jukka Punamäki from Helsinki marketing, presented the Finnish capital’s success as the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019. He outlined Helsinki’s achievements in all four categories of the competition, in addition to the benefits the city is receiving, as 2019 capital.
Find out more about the fair here.
Launch of Helsinki´s new Sustainable Tourism Study
In January 2019, Helsinki launched a study to assess how sustainable tourism is being implemented in the city. The study will be followed up by a new sustainable tourism programme, to be launched later in 2019.
Find out more about the study (in Finnish) here and see more about how Helsinki is thinking sustainably here.