Hotels have an essential role in attracting international events to Helsinki.
The CEO of the Finnish Hospitality Association (MaRa) Timo Lappi wrote in Helsingin Sanomat that hotels are mainly operated by international chains in Finland. That is true, but the hotel operators are mainly Nordic. Compared to for instance Tallinn, we are lacking many of the well-known international hotel companies.
The famous hotel chains have a meaning in attracting essential international events to Finland. Though at the moment, the biggest obstacle of getting major congresses into Helsinki is the size of our hotel capacity.
Like Lappi writes, there are several hotel investments underway, however, the pace is too slow. Helsinki has at the moment 9800 hotel rooms. With the on-going projects, the amount will rise to about 13 000 rooms. In comparison, in Stockholm, there are 35 000 rooms and in Copenhagen 15 800, which means that we are significantly behind our neighbours. The difference is also growing all the time – for instance, the capacity of Copenhagen will increase with 8200 rooms during the next three years.
When attracting foreign investments, the international congresses have an important role. They bring decision-makers from different industries to Helsinki and give us an opportunity to demonstrate the region’s strengths and business opportunities at the same time. Congresses also increase our reputation as a business location.
We should not either forget the employment effects that hotels have. One hotel employs directly 20-80 people, depending on the number of rooms and the rating, and indirectly over 100 people. One hotel investment is over 20 million euros.
It’s great, that the public and private sector want to increase together our competitiveness. That is why Helsinki Business Hub has started a hotel investment program, which is done in a close co-operation with different players. The goal is to enrich our hotel offering to match the demand and increase our international competitiveness.
Jouni von Wendt
Director, Invest in, Helsinki Business Hub
The text has been originally published in Helsingin Sanomat as a letter to the editor.