Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Lahti, more popular than ever before
The World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 is attracting tourists at an unprecedented rate. Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Lahti are all satisfied with how tourist numbers have developed since the start of 2012. The growth target of 5% in the number of overnight stays set by the cities for the year is estimated to be met.
Compared to numbers in 2011, overnight stays registered with accommodation companies grew in the period from January to May by 3.5% in Helsinki, 22.3% in Espoo, 4.5% in Vantaa and 32.8% in Lahti. The growth in overnight stays in 2011 itself was significant, so the cumulative growth is exceptionally strong.
According to the Finnish Tourist Board (MEK), Finnish growth was the biggest in the Nordic countries between January-May; the number of people staying overnight increased by over 11%. On a global level, tourism is growing much slower than average this year.
The traditional tourism season in the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 area, June - August, and the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012\'s lively September create expectations of larger growth in tourist numbers. Once the year is over, it is predicted that the tourism and service sectors can be satisfied with their performance in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Lahti.
- The World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year has an effect on the number of tourists, and the exceptionally large amount of international media coverage it has received creates a foundation for good development in coming years, says Deputy Tourist Director Tuulikki Becker from the Helsinki City Tourist & Convention Bureau.
- Close cooperation between the cities is important for success. It is also a good plan for the future, continues World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 Executive Director Pekka Timonen.
The cities\' tourist boards confirm that their customers include tourists who have come to Finland precisely because of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year.
- Customers wish to know about the main World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 attractions and exhibitions. It is important for them not to miss out on the design year, explains Sanna Salonen from the tourist information point at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport, which has seen a growth of almost 30% compared to the previous year.
The Helsinki Helpers patrol the streets in the centre of Helsinki, giving advice to tourists and often to locals, too. The World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year has been visible in the Helpers\' work, and they receive many questions regarding it. Tourists are especially interested in the special shops, architecture and art on offer in the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.
Both international and domestic overnight stays are on the increase
One of the aims of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year is to encourage city residents to see their own home city or a nearby tourist destination in a whole new way. In addition to visitors staying overnight, it is also estimated that the number of people taking daytrips is increasing.
- We are delighted to announce that the number of day-trippers has especially risen at Lahti\'s attractions. Our range of exhibitions has roused interest, and tourists have found their way to the Muotohuoltamo Centre, which has established itself as one of the landmarks of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year, explains Raija Forsman, Managing Director at Lahti Travel.
Growth is visible in both leisure and business-related trips. The World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year alone attracts thousands of professionals to various conferences, congresses and seminars.
Journalists, visiting the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 in great numbers, are also included as professionals. In addition to traditional tourism journalists, the year has also attracted journalists from various lifestyle and fashion magazines especially to Helsinki, and they are eager to write about the trendy Helsinki experienced by the local residents.
Statistics compiled on the number of overnight stays by tourists show only stays recorded by chains offering accommodation. Nowadays, many tourists also stay overnight at a friend\'s house, or utilise the Couch Surfing network. New kinds of accommodation alternatives have also been tried out at the various World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 events: At the \'Wastelands\' architecture festival, 500 visitors camped for two weeks at Suvilahti.
Cruise passengers arriving in Helsinki are also considered day-trippers. Passenger traffic at the Port of Helsinki has been on the rise for the entire year with the growth between January and June at 5% compared to a normal period. For international cruiseliners, this is the best summer of all time. Advance estimates of 400,000 international cruise passengers - an unprecedented number - are set to arrive in Helsinki.
In addition to familiar sights and attractions, passengers have set off to see new World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 exhibitions and sites. Kamppi\'s Chapel, The Pavilion and the \'HI Design 2012\' exhibition at The Cable Factory have proven especially interesting to tourists. In Espoo, the range at the Exhibition centre WeeGee, Vantaa\'s Heureka and the \'6 Scenes of Beauty\' exhibition have attracted visitors. In Lahti, there\'s been something for everyone, even for cycling tourists.
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