Located in Southern Finland, Espoo is one of the most sustainable cities in Europe and a pioneer of sustainable development. Local authorities have the ambition to make the city carbon neutral by 2030. Their goal is also to reach the UN Sustainable Development goals by 2025. All this and more can be discovered on Espoo’s new booking and route planning tool.
Espoo is Finland‘s second largest city by population with almost 300,000 residents at the end of 2020. It is part of the metropolitan area of Greater Helsinki. The city offers a very contemporary image, as it grew mostly from the second half of the 20th century.
Its relaxed atmosphere with a profusion of green spaces makes it an attractive destination. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of overnight stays in the city grew from 278,000 to 462,000, with over 42% of all overnights generated by foreign guests.
The city’s positioning near Helsinki also makes it a strong MICE destination. Back in 2019, Espoo registered a total of 92 international congresses with close to 10,000 participants.
For travellers, the city offers 71 lakes within its boundaries, the largest being Lake Bodom. And it has six “Natura 2000” protected areas (a label given by the European Union).
In addition, major corporations in Espoo, such as Neste, are some of the most responsible companies in the world. This is complemented by Visit Finland’s Sustainable Travel Finland programme (STF), aimed at destinations and travel operators in the region. Espoo is one of the programme’s pilot regions, together with Helsinki and Vantaa.
For visitors keen to discover Espoo’s spectacular environments as well as its cultural attractions, “Visit Espoo” has opened a new route planning and booking platform, Travel Planner, which helps to plan travel routes, build a package tour, and make reservations for accommodation, activities and free sights and services.
All Espoo sights and products available in a single platform
In addition to customising their own travel packages, the traveller can select and purchase one of a number of pre-conceived themed itineraries and packages. The service includes ready-made travel package proposals for an active mini-holiday by bike or family holiday, not to mention a package for nature fans and those who enjoy marine life. Services are being added all the time, so tour operators and agents should look regularly at the Travel Planner for updates.
“We are delighted to be able to offer travellers a new kind of online route planning and booking tool”, says Tiina Backman, Project Manager at Visit Espoo. “We hope that the digital purchasing path for customers will also be easier, as they will be able to buy all the services from one place and customise their own package tour. Our partner, Elämys Group, provides services as the responsible tour operator.”
Espoo is also involved in Bookingpoint, a joint booking platform of Southern Finland’s municipalities and tourism entrepreneurs which opened at the beginning of June.
By using Bookingpoint, accommodation, transport, equipment rental, event tickets, excursions and services can be booked in one single website. Travellers are able to book and buy a Nuuksio canoeing or hiking trip as well as a guided tour of Fiskars Village. The service also helps to compare prices and availability from Espoo’s various service providers.
There are 12 municipalities involved; Kemiönsaari, Salo, Hanko, Raasepori, Lohja, Vihti, Espoo, Helsinki, Vantaa, Tuusula, Sipoo and Porvoo, with whose support the booking platform will hit the post-Covid tourism market with efficient online business and close cooperation between entrepreneurs in the area.
Travel Planner exists in Finnish and English versions. The service has been implemented as part of the Visit Espoo Digital Purchasing and Discoverability project. The project has received funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Regional Council of Southwest Finland, and the Regional Council of Etelä-Savo.