The Tall Ships Races events in Turku and Kotka were great successes. In both cities, the economic outcome was better than expected.

A study of visitor spending in The Tall Ships Races events shows that major events have a considerable economic impact on the hosting cities. The total spending in Kotka and Turku amounted to somewhere between 56 and 64 million euros. The share of visitors coming from outside the event cities was between 40 and 45 million euros.

Visitors from outside the event cities spent from 13 to 15 million euros in total in Kotka and 27 to 30 million euros in Turku.

- On the basis of feedback, producing experiences like The Tall Ships Races receives excellent marks both locally and nationally. Organising big events is feasible also from the economic point of view. As usual, the co-operation between cities and collaboration partners has worked well, says Klaus Virkkunen, Research Director at Sponsor Insight, responsible for the visitor survey.

Good atmosphere and safety are important

Visitor profiles in both events show that The Tall Ships Races attracts both younger and older visitors, groups of friends and families, city residents and visitors who come from further away. Both in Kotka and Turku, 52 per cent of visitors came from outside the city. The most important motive was, as expected, the opportunity to get to know the vessels but also providing children with experiences and other programme content of the events strongly affected the decision to participate.

Of those who visited the event in Kotka, 96 per cent considered the event to be very good and 94 per cent of those who responded to the survey would recommend the event. Of those who visited the event in Turku, 97 per cent considered the event to be fairly good or very good and 96 per cent would recommend it to others. The highest marks were given for the atmosphere, the event areas and safety as well as order supervision.

The River Aura in Turku thoroughly in use

In Turku, the number of visitors was record-breaking, amounting to 544 000 participants. This time the event expanded to the eastern bank of the River Aura, and the crowd of visitors was now evenly split on both sides of the river.

- The development work of riverbanks continues. The focus of the city centre is shifting towards the downstream of the River Aura and Turku is increasingly becoming a sea city, says Chair of the Tall Ships Races event Steering Group, Deputy Mayor Jarkko Virtanen.

This year was the fifth hosting year for Turku, no other city in the Baltic Sea area has hosted the event as often.

- Through experience, Turku has been able to develop the required harbour services, programme concept, crew services and the opportunities that the Tall Ships Races event offers to the visitors and business sector to their maximum, states Project Manager Kimmo Hyyppä.

Expectations exceeded in Kotka

According to the Event Director and Director of Culture at the City of Kotka Antti Karjalainen, The Tall Ships Races in Kotka exceeded all expectations.

- Our visitor goal, 300 00 people, was exceeded by more than 50 000 visitors and the economic impact for the city was approximately 13 to 15 million euros. Particularly combining the sailing vessel event with the Kotkan Meripäivät event (Kotka Sea Days) was a very welcomed idea, says Karjalainen.

- One thing that made the event in Kotka special was the considerable activity of businesses, and we tested particularly products and services related to circular economy, for instance plastic-free cardboard and renting bicycles at the bus station for people to get to the event area. In addition, the travel service Laini organised group transportation to the event, says Karjalainen.