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News 20.06.2018

Finland reaps success in congresses

The competition for international congresses is fierce among organising nations, but Finland continues to hold its spot on the world’s top 20 list. What’s more, Finland also has considerable potential for growth.

Finland is ranked highly on international lists of top nations for congresses. The Union of International Associations’ annual statistic has Finland on a shared 19th place with Sweden. In 2017, Finland hosted 791 international congresses for various organisations with a combined total of 111,188 guests. The listing includes 166 countries and a total of 1,104 cities. Helsinki placed 20th.

“Finland hosts several times more congresses than our size and stature would predict. We have a strong international reputation as an event organiser”, says Mervi Toivonen from Business Finland’s Finland Convention Bureau.

Finland is the new hot ticket

'The top spots on UIA’s list are held by household nations in Central Europe, where numerous international organisations are also headquartered. Finland’s main assets are safety and efficiency in addition to our fascinating location. Finland is currently enjoying a surge in international attention, which is also reflected in congress travel.

“When all the familiar destinations become old hat, new options start to make sense. Travellers are more interested in Finland than ever before, and we should definitely strike while the iron is hot. Resources spent on travel marketing also benefit other export industries – especially the event industry”, Toivonen explains.

Sweden caught up with Finland this year, and Denmark and Norway are right on our heels.

“We’re putting in great work, but so are others. The competition is very tough, and landing a congress seems to take more and more effort every time. Globally, the congress industry is worth billions of euros. With more effort and funding, we could truly become a major player in the field”, Toivonen adds.

Congresses improve national brand image and employ Finns

The event industry’s national marketing association, Finland Convention Bureau (FCB), is part of the newly formed Business Finland organisation. Finland has pioneered an approach where acquiring and organising international congresses and promoting Finland as an event location is integrated into other operations that promote export, research and innovation.  

“Exporting Finnish know-how and innovations is much easier when we have more congresses in our country. Remember, there are congresses for every industry and field imaginable. This is why we as Finns should promote Finland as a location for congresses when we travel and meet with international partners. Every congress organised in Finland brings in considerable revenue and other benefits, both for our economy and our national image”, Toivonen says.

In Finland, congresses are considered part of the travel industry, as they benefit many fields in the industry, such as hotels and airlines. Congresses also use a host of other products and services from various industries, such as event spaces and technology, security services, communication and advertising agencies, content production, print houses, logistics and transportation companies, restaurants and catering businesses as well as the experience industry.

“A smooth event requires expertise and effort from many different fields. The industry already employs a significant number of Finns and creates considerable tax revenue.”


Mervi Toivonen, Manager, Global Sales and Business Events
Visit Finland | Business Finland
Tel. +358 50 554 5050
mervi.toivonen (at)

Salla Salovaara, Communications Specialist
Visit Finland| Business Finland
Tel. +358 40 526 0100
salla.salovaara (at)

Finland Convention Bureau (FCB) is a national marketing organisation for the convention industry, tasked to increase the number of international conventions, congresses, incentive trips and business events in Finland. Founded in 1974, FCB is one of Europe’s first convention bureaus. FCB is a subset of Visit Finland, which is part of Business Finland.

Business Finland is the Finnish innovation funding, trade, investment, and travel promotion organisation. Business Finland is fully owned by the Finnish Government. Business Finland employs 600 experts in 40 offices globally and in 20 regional offices around Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network.