The number of international participants in the congresses held in Oulu increased thanks to virtual events


In 2021, altogether 17 international congresses were arranged in Oulu. The total number of delegates in the congresses was 4,943, which is over 50% greater amount than in the previous year.

In terms of the number of international congresses, Oulu ranks 5th among the most popular congress cities in Finland. Measured in terms of the number of delegates, the ranking is fourth.  

Due to travel and gathering restrictions, international congresses have changed in nature in 2020–2021: All the international congresses held in Oulu last year were in either virtual or hybrid format.  

“It’s great that virtual congresses gather a lot of participants from all over the world. Of course, we would like the congress guests to travel to Oulu, use local services and experience the northern atmosphere at different times of the year”, says senior advisor Helena Pikkarainen from the Oulu Convention Bureau.  

Under normal circumstances, the number of delegates would have brought almost EUR 3 million to Oulu. Pikkarainen adds that virtual and hybrid congresses are, however, a great way to market Oulu and local expertise.

Organisers are encouraged to report their congresses for statistical purposes

Meetings of international organisations with at least 10 participants from at least two different countries are considered to be international congresses. At least one-fifth of the participants must be from outside Finland. The minimum duration of an international congress is four hours.

"It may be that not all events that meet the criteria of an international congress are included in the recent figures if information on the congresses has not been available," Helena Pikkarainen points out.

International congresses held in Oulu are recorded by various scientific communities and the Oulu Convention Bureau, which announce the congresses to the Finland Convention Bureau, which handles statistics in Finland. With the help of statistics, the position of Oulu as a strong conference and congress city will be made visible.