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Congresses attract international experts to Oulu

Congresses attract international experts to Oulu

25 registered international congresses were held in Oulu during last year. A total of 1,747 attendees participated in them. The congresses produced approximately 2.4 million € of travel revenue as the total expenditure per person was 1,400 €. At the best, congress revenue has exceeded 4–5 million € per year.

- I see cooperation between the City of Oulu and the University of Oulu as very necessary and we have collaborated well here. Fluent cooperation plays a very imporant role, states Marko Huttula, Professor of Physics and Hydrogen Research Director from the Universityof Oulu.

- International congresses offer opportunities to invite more networks and decision-makers to visit Oulu. These visits are important from the perspective of investments, recognition, and accessibility. We aim to be included among the five most popular congress cities in Finland, says City of Oulu Marketing Manager Riina Aikio.

The most congresses were held in the fields of natural sciences and mathematics. Other significant fields were social sciences, history, and security. According to participation turnout, the largest fields were technology, information technology, and architecture on top of natural sciences and mathematics.

The year 2024 is looking bright: thousands of congress attendees are expected to arrive to Oulu from different fields of study.

Congresses and their supplementary activities create an impression of the city to the attendees.

- Supplementary activities, lunches and dinners produce encounters, generate new thoughts and ideas, and create communication in the field’s perspective. These can attract the interest of international visitors, Huttula states.

Last year, 529 international congresses were held in Finland and 84% of them were organised as in-person events. The number is larger than in the previous year, and the coming years are looking bright.

The number of hybrid events is decreasing from previous years: approximately 15% of all congresses were hybrid in 2023. Purely virtual international congresses are organised very rarely.

Both the organisers and the attendees believe in the strength of face-to-face encounters.

202 congresses were held in Helsinki. The second place is shared by Espoo and Turku, both of which hosted 57 congresses last year. There were 52 registered events in Tampere and 39 in Jyväskylä. Vaasa had 34, 25 were held in Oulu, and 16 in Lahti. Nearly all the cities held more congresses than in 2022.

There were 12,500 more attendees than in the previous year in Finland. A total of 79,155 congress attendees were registered during 2023.

June, September and October are the most popular congress months.

Congresses are organised in Finland throughout the year. The busiest season is in the summertime: June was clearly the busiest congress month last year. The next busiest months were May, September and October. The quietest months were January and July. By attendee turnout, the busiest month was May when 16,000 congress attendees visited Oulu.

International congress criteria

The criteria to define an international meeting or congress:
• There are at least 10 attendees
• There are attendees from at least two other countries
• At least 20% of attendees are from outside of Finland
• Lasts at least one day (minimum of 4 hours)
• Is organised by an international association or its Finnish member association, national association, university faculty or group of researchers, university of applied sciences, research institute, ministry, or some other non-profit organisation.

Further details:
City of Oulu
Marketing Manager Riina Aikio
tel. 040 4196605