Kuvassa neljä kongressin kävijää.

Congresses attract international experts to Oulu


25 registered international congresses were held in Oulu during the last year. A total of 1747 attendees participated in them. The congresses produced approximately 2,4 million € of traveling revenue as total spending per person was 1400 €. At best, congress revenue has exceeded 4–5 million € per year. 

“I see cooperation between the city of Oulu and the University of Oulu as very necessary and we have collaborated well here. Fluent cooperation plays a very important role”, Professor of Physics and Hydrogen Research Director Marko Huttula from the University of Oulu states.  

“International congresses offer opportunities to invite more networks and decision-makers to visit Oulu. These visits are important from the perspective of investments, recognition and accessibility. We aim to be included among the five most popular congress cities in Finland”, city of Oulu’s Marketing Director Riina Aukio states.  

The most congresses were held in the fields of natural sciences and mathematics. Other significant fields were social sciences, history and safety. According to participation turnout, the largest fields were technology, information technology and architecture on top of natural sciences and mathematics.  

The year 2024 is looking bright: thousands of congress attendees are expected to arrive to Oulu from different fields of study.  

Congresses and their supplementary activities create an impression of the city

“Supplementary activities, lunches and dinners produce encounters, generate new thoughts and ideas and create communication in the field’s perspective. These can attract the interest of international visitors”, Huttula states. 

Last year, 529 international congresses were held in Finland and 84 % of them were organized as in-person events. The number is larger than in the previous year and the coming years are looking bright.   

The number of hybrid events is decreasing from previous years, approximately 15 % of all congresses were hybrid. Purely virtual international congresses are organized very rarely. 

Both the organizers and the attendees believe in the strength of face-to-face encounters.  

202 congresses were held in Helsinki. The second place is shared by Espoo and Turku, both of which saw 57 congresses last year. There were 52 registered events in Tampere and 39 in Jyväskylä. Vaasa saw 34, 25 in Oulu and 16 in Lahti. Nearly all cities held more congresses than in 2022. 

There were 12 500 more attendees than last year in Finland. A total of 79 155 congress attendees were registered during 2023.  

June, September and October are the most popular congress months

Congresses are organized in Finland throughout the year. The busiest season is in the summertime: June was clearly the busiest congress month last year. The next busiest months were May, September and October. The quietest months were January and July. By attendee turnout, the busiest month was May when 16 000 congress attendees visited Oulu.  

International congress criteria 

The criteria to define an international meeting or congress: 

  • There is at least 10 attendees 
  • There are attendees from at least two other countries 
  • At least 20 % of attendees are from outside of Finland 
  • Lasts at least one day (minumum of 4 hours) 
  • Is organized by an international association or its Finnish member association, national association, university faculty or group of researchers, university of applied sciences, research institute, ministry or some other non-profit organization. 

The latest statistics collected by the Finland Convention Bureau from 2023 have been used as a source for the statistics. Source for the monetary statistics: FCB Delegate Study – Visit Finland. 

Finland Convention Bureau’s congress statistics 2023 News can be read here: Congress Year 2023 – information sharing and Finnish expertise – Visit Finland (in Finnish) 

Further details: City of Oulu, Marketing Director Riina Aikio tel. 040 4196605 riina.aikio@ouka.fi