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Matka showcases Finland’s vast variety in travel

Welcome to where travel ideas nest: Helsinki.Credits: : Roni Rekomaa

The annual Matka Nordic Travel Fair is back! With over 80 countries convincing visitors of their extraordinariness, the host nation is showing its best sides.

Throughout the weekend, Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre offers an abundance of travel destinations. Last year, Finland was on everyone’s lips around the world due to its centennial celebrations; now, it’s got to find other things to brag about. Fortunately, there’s no shortage!

Here you go: Good News from Finland‘s taster from the Matka Nordic Travel Fair. If you happen to be in or near the capital, you’ve got a chance to pop by this weekend, as the fair finishes up on Sunday.

Visit Rovaniemi’s huge stand was crowded with local companies: in total, 40 entrepreneurs were present. CEO Sanna Kärkkäinen takes pride in the investments local accommodation providers are making, as they form a big part of the region’s attractiveness. This year, the Finnhorse Trotting Championship competition (Kuninkuusravit) will prove irresistible to many in the Nordics. “The legendary event will definitely be an experience many will be keen to travel for.” Image: Roni Rekomaa
How about trying a bit of virtual travelling? Visit Salo is letting people pop into some of the area’s attractions via a VR headset, which also enables virtual foraging and fishing. But should one still actually visit Salo in real life? “Of course!” says project coordinator Tina Koski. “There’s plenty more, including the Electronics Museum, summer markets and beautiful nature.” Image: Roni Rekomaa
Local delicacies and culinary experiences are an essential part of tourism. All kinds of Finnish goodies are seeking new taste buds all around the fair. Maria Pick from Finnish Archipelago is particularly fond of sea buckthorn. “One little berry has as much vitamin C as a whole orange,” she claims. “It’s also a rare treat, as it only grows in places like Finland.” Image: Roni Rekomaa
Vesa Keskinen is one of the most famous businessmen inside Finland’s borders, and his department store in Tuuri gathers millions of visitors every year. Keskinen’s first time at the Matka fair was back in 1996. “I was walking around with a two-kilogram golden horseshoe telling everyone about the store,” he recalls. “No one had heard about it, but everyone wanted to try holding the horseshoe. Security had to keep a keen eye on me, as its value was about 70 000 euros.” Image: Roni Rekomaa
In a democracy, the crowd’s opinion matters. At the fair, guests can vote for their favourite Finnish Lapland poster. The global contest was launched last year for graphic designers all over the world. (Pro tip: voters get a discount card for the Come to Finland stand.) Image: Roni Rekomaa
The city of Tampere, with its recently established Moomin Museum, and Naantali, the home town of Moomin World, naturally featured Moomins at their stands. Nothing wrong with that – they can easily be counted as some of the most famous global notabilities to have come from Finland. Image: Roni Rekomaa
Wild Taiga of Kuhmo and Suomussalmi brought along 60 local travel service providers. According to Pirjo Kähkönen, the region has seen a fair few young entrepreneurs setting up new businesses. One of the reasons is Hossa, a national park Finland founded to celebrate its centennial. “Last year, the park had 100 000 visitors,” Kähkönen tells. “However, it’s still a place where travellers can really feel the peace and silence, without anyone else in sight.” Image: Roni Rekomaa
Talking about travelling and Finland and not mentioning sauna is like not talking at all. Unfortunately, Good News from Finland didn’t spot a chance to really pop into one, but some accessories are there to get guests in the mood for some heat. Image: Roni Rekomaa

Text: Anne Salomäki

Published on 19.01.2018