At Oulu Travel Forum on October 12th, the Director of Finland Convention Bureau, Ines Antti-Poika, expressed that Finland is open to congress travel once again. Her keynote made it clear how important events are to the vitality of different regions. Antti-Poika is marketing international congress services in Finland together with Business Finland and Visit Finland.
Photo: Arto Maaninen and Ines Antti-Poika discussed the possibilities for congresses in Oulu.
The corona period has taught us that virtual events can never fully replace physical congresses. Current figures show that events are being organised once again. Congresses make it possible for their participants to network and co-create new ideas.
Congress guests constitute an important segment of customers who bring money to the city throughout the year. Especially hotels, restaurants, tourism, and activity services are among the winning businesses.
Scientific communities are integral to maintaining vitality
One of the most significant organisers of congresses and educational events is the university. In her keynote, Antti-Poika called for the harnessing of local capital to support the revitalisation of travel and congresses.
Arto Maaninen, Vice Rector for Cooperation Affairs at the University of Oulu, answers the question of how we could attract more congresses to the city:
”Bringing congresses to Oulu depends on individual experts and their interest in bringing their colleagues to Oulu. We should be bold and seize the occasion. What is more, these experts should be introduced to the bodies that offer assistance in organising such events.”
Oulu Convention Bureau is the local body that is best acquainted with local operators and can assist with practical arrangements. It is a matter of expertise to find the right partners for a congress organiser. A congress organiser should contact these partners already when planning to possibly apply for a conference to be arranged in Oulu. The significance of international congresses is indisputable also to the University of Oulu.
”International congresses are highly important events for universities. They allow researchers to meet other international experts in their field, showcase their own expertise, hear about the latest advancements in research, and create relations that are extremely important when forming partnerships for collaborative research projects,” Maaninen says.
Oulu offers easily accessible, northern exoticism
Responsibility, creativity, and locality are values that people appreciate when scouting for congress destinations today. With the coronavirus, the possibility of using outdoor spaces is emphasised, and regional vaccination coverage also has an effect on the appeal.
Moreover, contactless services and various technical requirements are high on the list of demands. In this situation, Oulu has good potential to offer services to congress organisers. Appeal is the sum of many aspects.
”In Oulu, nature is close to the city centre. We have four distinct seasons and room for thought. We can also offer everything that is needed for a successful conference. Oulu is a compact city that is easily accessible from many directions. We are an interesting and different alternative for many,” comments Riina Aikio, Head of Events and Marketing at City of Oulu Event Services.