Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori meets Beijing Mayor Chen Jining

Publish Time:2018-09-05 12:53:30Source:Official Website of City of Helsinki

【Introduction】:Beijing, with a population of almost 22 million, is one of the most important partnership cities of Helsinki. The emphasis in the discussions between the Mayors will be on furthering tourism cooperation and making use of the Chinese New Year in Helsinki as a platform for new collaboration initiatives. The City of Helsinki has been chosen to host the annual World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit in 2019. The Mayor accepts the hosting duties in Qingdao on 8 September

Beijing, with a population of almost 22 million, is one of the most important partnership cities of Helsinki. The emphasis in the discussions between the Mayors will be on furthering tourism cooperation and making use of the Chinese New Year in Helsinki as a platform for new collaboration initiatives. The City of Helsinki has been chosen to host the annual World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit in 2019. The Mayor accepts the hosting duties in Qingdao on 8 September 2018.

"International cooperation on the city level is increasingly important to Helsinki. Beijing is one of Helsinki's most important partnership cities. We want to make use of the interest shown by Chinese tourists in Europe and lead the way in the development of services directed at Chinese tourists. Approximately 40 direct flights per week from China to Helsinki and the tailor-made Helsinki mini program for Chinese tourists in the WeChat application as first in the world are excellent examples of this. We are looking to expand the cooperation with Beijing in other parts of business life as well", notes Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

The significance of the tourism cooperation between Helsinki and Beijing is constantly growing. In addition to the meeting between the Mayors, Helsinki is also arranging two tourism-themed events in Beijing, which will focus on expanding the cooperation between tourism companies and attract tourism investments to Helsinki. The number of Chinese tourists in Helsinki has doubled during the last three years. In 2017, the growth was 32 per cent.

The Chinese New Year has been celebrated in the Helsinki city centre since 2007. In 2018, the event was expanded to include supplementary programme with a business focus. Helsinki aims to make the group of events a permanent platform for broader cooperation between Beijing and Helsinki, for example, in connection to the smart city and winter sports.

In August 2019, Helsinki will host the City of Beijing-founded World Tourism Cities Federation's annual Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, which will bring more than 500 participants from different countries to Helsinki and offer an excellent opportunity to strengthen Helsinki's relations with the central international players in the field of tourism. The Mayor of Beijing is the Chairman of the organisation.

Background information

World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is a non-profit tourism cooperation network established in 2012 in Beijing. Currently, the network includes 134 cities and 68 other members, such as companies in the fields of aviation, media, financing and tourism. The city members come from 66 countries and areas. Helsinki became a part of the WTCF network in 2014. The 2017 summit was arranged in Los Angeles.

Beijing and Helsinki have been sister-cities since 2006. The relation between Helsinki and China has also been built up by Finnair's strong Asian strategy, as a result of which there are currently around 40 direct flights per week from Helsinki to China.

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