23 January 2016
MATKA TRAVEL FAIR 2016
Travel Bloggers: a bridge for the travel Industry.
Helsinki is hosting over 1,000 trade professionals from 80 different countries, CA 70,000 visitors and 1,200 media representatives at the largest travel event in Northern Europe, the Matka Fair (“Matka” in Finnish language means Travel), from Jan. 21-24. where are presented the newest and popular travel inspirations.
In 2015 Finland had a little decrease on the incoming travels, especially from those countries that once where known for being “best friends”. Part of Finnish tourism strategy for 2020 will be to enhance different focal points such as the favorable location next to St. Petersburg in Russia, and Finland with its many natural resources,which has been the strength of its incoming tourism. The environment has become nowdays an important industry trend as the environmental issues are influencing the tourism industry and the all world, that is why Finland will take into consideration landscape-related values of tourism in all business activities.
Last Wendsnday, Thursday and Friday morning the Matka Fair was completely dedicated to the travel trade professionals, to conferences and workshops. There where possibilities to have a “speed-date” with the travel industry and to build a good connection to Finland. The Matka has been full of colors as always with its beautiful stands and stages. Few new countries were partecipating for the first time, such as the Faroe Islands, the Tatarstan, only 3 hours flight from Helsinki and the Kyrgyzstan with its beautiful nature and perfect destination for hiking and trail riding. At the Finnair stand we all got the chance to try the comfortable and luxurious Finnair seats, of the new Airbus A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body) aircraft, both business and economy class.
A good right-hand-man of the Matka 2016 was the blogger programme, the NBE (Nordic Bloggers’ Experience), which promoted Finland to millions of people through social media and travel bloggers. Over 400 travel bloggers from 44 countries were taking part at Matka Travel Fair. It has been my first time participating to such event, and I must say that has been an awesome experience especially learning through the labs organized. The accomodation was offered to The Full Board participants , supplied by Radisson Blu, and for the first time they has been collaborating with the accomodation company Forenom, specialized in renting furnished apartments. There were many events where the travel bloggers got the chance to build up their networks with the decision makers from the industry, not only at the Matka Fair but even in the external events such as the sauna evening, hosted by the Finnish Sauna society, the outdoor afternoon in Nuuksio by Visit Espoo and the NBE party at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. I took personally part in the Half board bloggers without accomodation and, still, everything was well organized in every detail. The two main topics of the labs and seminars were business and visual content.
Two labs took place on Wednsday 20th, “Blogging as business” by Sarah and Terry Lee’s from LiveShareTravel, in collaboration with Expedia, that kindly shared with us their tips and suggestions, and “Principles of effective collaborations with companies” by Angelika Schwaff from Reisefreunde. On Thursday 21st there were coducted “How to use Seo and smart strategies” with Erik van Erp from Around the Globe and “How to combine video to your blog with professional but less time consuming ways” with Nina Hüpen-Bestendonck from Smaracuja, powered by Canon. There were held the NBE talk and Keynote at the Sonera Inspiration Stage, regarding the social media in the travel business and marketing, and the digital influencers. Last year there has been an important record number of passengers at Helsinki Airport, over 16 million.For the first time, passenger volumes at all Finavia airports increased to over 20 million passengers, and this numbers will grow even more this year with the Finnair Stopover campaign which was given in right hands. Finnair, in cooperation with VisitFinland, gave the possibility to the bloggers to organize and plan a content marketing campaign for the airline company.
There was offerd to the NBE bloggers the opportunity to get to know the Staff and programme of the Clarion Hotels, part of Nordic Choice Hotels, which will be open in the city district of Jätkäsaari in Helsinki (78 meters for 16 floors and 425 rooms) and another one at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport (258 rooms and 11 meeting rooms). In the meeting room was set a beautiful buffet lunch with a table of seating capacity of 20 people. While we were offered a sample of the Hotel gastronomy, Inari Lehtinen, General Manager for Clarion Hotel Helsinki, announced the opening on the 17th October of the city Hotel, and she was really pleased to mention that the reservation system is already open for the bookings.
The Finnish Travel Magazine Mondo, this year didn’t have Italy among its travel choices (last year, was Amalfi), but Italy and the Mediterranean Sea is still a strong attraction for the Finnish people, who loves every now and then to get rid of the Finnish cold. This year the Italchamber was present at the Matka Fair with 8 exhibitors as Valle d’ Aosta, Lazio and Rome and Lago Maggiore with the responsible for marketing who illustrated us the beautiful Centovalli Railway which connects Italy to the Franch speaking part of Switzerland in a romantic train journey made of breathtaking landscapes sceneries.
There is something I loved most of the Matka 2016, or actually is even more the story behind it… I had to stop at the Japan stand where we found a wooden aircraft cockpit control panel, and while we were admiring it we have been told that it was built by a pilot who retired and was missing his job, so he did an exact copy in wood
It has been a great pleasure making part of the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience, and I appreciate all the efforts made. I had the chance to get to know some really interesting blogs such “A gipsy in the kitchen” and “Deep Red Blues“, and now I can explode of inspirations 🙂