Tourism is one of the biggest economic sectors in Finland. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the industry generated approximately EUR 16 billion in tourism income and employed 140,000 people in 2018. However, tourism is now in crisis. In 2020, registered overnight stays fell by 60 percent in Uusimaa and 32 percent in Southwest Finland. Cities in particular have been hit exceptionally hard by the crisis. Much of the workforce is now laid off or unemployed. Support is needed in order to face the very intense competition that lies ahead.
Sustainable growth for Tourism: Southern Finland
Project time 1.8.2021-31.10.2023
The project has two mutually reinforcing core objectives. It supports the recovery of SMEs in the tourism, restaurant and event sectors impacted by the corona pandemic by developing new tourism products for international target groups while also supporting their export to the markets using digital tools. It also promotes the sustainability of businesses and in particular a reduction in carbon footprint while also creating a competitive advantage out of these. The project is part of a larger family of projects with other sister projects coming from Western and Northern Finland. In addition, the project has a sister ESF project.
The project comprises four subprojects that support each other. All project actions apply to the entire project region.
- Helsinki will develop digital operating models for knowledge management and promote sustainable and carbon neutral tourism.
- Espoo will promote the inclusiveness of tourism and cyber security
- Turku will focus on the development of new products on top of Finland’s inherent strengths, which include e.g. cleanliness, safety and silence. In addition, tourism safety will be developed.
- Forum Virium’s subproject is related to knowledge management and will test new forms of data use and introduce them among tourism companies.
The project emphasises joint development and productisation with companies, as well as the export of new products to international markets.
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The project corresponds well with the regional recovery plans of Uusimaa and Southwest Finland. The project is also in line with the regions’ smart specialisation strategies and the Baltic Sea strategy. Furthermore, the project supports the strategies of the participating cities, in particular in digitalisation and sustainability. In addition, the project is in line with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s tourism roadmap, as well as the strategy of Visit Finland and the Helsinki metropolitan area under it. The project is also in line with the Ministry of Finance’s “Finland’s Sustainable Growth Programme”.
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Photo: Konsta Linkola