Pandemic damage radiates over the business life of the entire Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
The economic impact of Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre on the surrounding business community shrank by 80 per cent when operations had to be completely shut down in the first pandemic year 2020. As a result, restaurants, hotels, taxis and other businesses in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area lost a revenue stream of almost 300 million euros.
The economic impact of Messukeskus on the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in 2019 was a record 357 million euros and the employment impact was 4,850 person-years. In 2020, the corresponding figures were only 66 million euros and 900 person-years.
The direct impact on income and employment for the surrounding economy shrank by as much as 80 per cent as the pandemic paralysed the organisation of trade fairs and congresses, which are based on face-to-face encounters. Calculated in euros, the loss of income stream is 291 million euros.
The figures are based on the income and employment statement made by Taloustutkimus Oy. Market research company Taloustutkimus examined money spent and the overall impact on employment by companies and visitors at trade fairs, congresses and other events.
Under normal circumstances, Messukeskus employs and generates significant income for the entire Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Major trade fairs and international congresses fill hotels and restaurants and are a major boost to other services in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
"Our main concern right now is the completely inadequate support of society for companies that are large and big employers in the travel-and event industry, such as Messukeskus. This weakens Finland’s position as an investment target and has a negative effect on the competitiveness of companies operating in Finland, when after the Covid-19 pandemic, the international business and private travel will gain momentum again," says Anni Vepsäläinen, Managing Director of Messukeskus.
The doors of Messukeskus were closed more than a year ago, and since then it has only been possible to continue operations on a small scale. The turnover decreased by two-thirds in 2020, and the total number of visitors was one-third of the number in previous years. As a result of the pandemic, Messukeskus has adapted its operations in many ways, sought alternative uses for its facilities and built a bridge over the crisis by strengthening its virtual and hybrid business.
The results of Messukeskus are part of a broader study done by Taloustutkimus Oy commissioned by The Association of Trade Fair and Event Organisers in Finland.
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She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.