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Kari Halonen Helsinki – A CityBreak Destination

With the occasion of CityBreak 2006 Exhibition, which will be hosted for the first time in the city of Helsinki, Kari Halonen, Marketing Director of Helsinki City Tourist & Convention Bureau analyzes in TravelDailyNews International why Helsinki can be considered as a city-break destination.

TravelDailyNews: What are the advantages of Helsinki as a city-break destination?

Kari Halonen: Helsinki is very reliable to organize international congresses, fairs and workshops. Safety issues have been considered predominantly, as Helsinki has voted the second safest city in the world – after Luxembourg. Furthermore, infrastructure is in very high standard and we have a good public transportation system.

Helsinki is a metropolis with human dimension and as a city is easy to reach, with attractions and venue places that are not far from each other.

I have to mention that Helsinki is an exotic – gate between east and west.

Baltic Sea, the archipelago, and the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress (listed under Unesco World Heritage list) contribute to the attractions of Helsinki.

We are celebrating soon after the venue of CityBreak our Midsummer; even during this Exhibition there will be daylight almost 24 hours.

Finally, our no-nonsense hospitality, language skills and service standards, which are high, are among the advantages of Helsinki.

TDN: In what way will the organization of the first City Break exhibition in June benefit Helsinki?

K.H: We will have the opportunity to promote Helsinki for those tour operators who has never been visiting in Helsinki before and therefore they may consider taking Helsinki to their programmes or even in their brochures and catalogues.

TDN: What initiatives does Helsinki City Tourist & Convention Bureau undertake in order to increase the tourist traffic in Helsinki?

K.H: We are emphasizing nowadays more and more in low budget airline companies to consider Helsinki as a new city break destination. Actually there are more and more those coming already during this year. Helsinki is having over 14 000 beds, 800 restaurants, 80 museums, over 100 tours for individuals or groups. So the service sector is ready for this increase.

TDN: What are your expectations for 2006 regarding the numbers of the tourists that are visiting your country?

K.H: We are expecting to have 4 % increase comparing to 2005. Biggest increases will come from UK, Japan, Southern Europe, Sweden and Russia. Europe will be definitely, the continent to contribute the most in the tourists’ arrivals in Helsinki this year.

TDN: How do you comment that Reed Travel Exhibition choose Helsinki to be the first city to organize City Break Expo?

K.H: Excellent choice! We are very pleased that Reed contacted us already over 1

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