MATKA Nordic Travel Fair 2021

Submitted by KA9021 on

MATKA Nordic Travel Fair is the largest international travel fair in Northern Europe and one of the largest in Europe and it had been rganized annually in January at the Messukeskus exhibition center in Helsinki, Finland. But this year, due to COVID-19, the fair was held in May in the online format - Matka Workshop Day Digital 2021. The partners of the "Museums in Focus" project - the Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia and the Museums of Joensuu - had a number of meetings with potential partners from the tourism sector, got new contacts with leading travel companies working with Chinese tourists in Northern Europe.

The main goal of the event was to demonstrate to the representatives of the tourism sector the services and products for tourists that had been created within the framework of the "Museums in Focus" project since the beginning of 2020: a visual navigation system, customer services, an audio guide, a new section of the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia dedicated to the Karelian-Finnish epic poem "Kalevala".

Tatiana Saltykova, the maneger of the Project (the Museum of Fine Arts of Karelia), had online meetings with representatives of Chinese travel companies from Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, as well as representatives of travel agencies from India, Italy and Finland (Helsinki, Lisalmi, Imatra).

Every such a meeting is an exchange of contacts, a very good promotion for the museum and its possibilities for receiving foreign tourists. It is interesting that along with tourist services and products, companies were interested in the transport accessibility of the region.

Participation in the exhibition became possible thanks to the Karelia cross-border cooperation program and the implementation of the project KA9021 "Museum in Focus: Development of Cultural Services for Chinese Tourists".

Museums of Joensuu, alongside the lead partner Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia, also attended the Matka Workshop Day Digital 2021 online event as part of the project Museums in Focus: Development of Cultural Services to Chinese tourists (KA9021).
While originally the project partners intended on attending the Matka fair (Matkamessut) in Helsinki, its postponement to 2022 meant an alternative solution was needed. Matka Workshop Day is a B2B (business-to-business) networking event which this year was organised digitally using the Converve virtual matchmaking tool. It matched Finnish tourism suppliers and destination management organisations (DMOs) with international tourism buyers such as tour agencies. In addition, it matched international tourism suppliers with other international actors as well as Finnish tourism buyers.
The Museums of Joensuu designed promotional materials such as an electronic flyer and video, as well as a presentation to be disseminated in the event. Pauliina Kaasalainen and Sami Tanskanen from the project staff of the Museums of Joensuu organised a total of 17 B2B meetings with international tourism buyer organisations, mostly from China and Russia.