Visit Turku welcomes hundreds of media guests each year. A media visit by Chinese journalists and tour operators in early autumn resulted in a magnificent piece in Vogue China.

Turku and the Turku archipelago are beautifully presented in the travel section of Vogue China’s November issue. Vogue China has published a nature-themed article of ten pages titled “Back in Nature” that includes as many as 19 images of the area. The article, themed ”Be wild in archipelago” focuses on the archipelago, the history of the area and travel destinations. Also the food culture in Turku is represented, including the offering of the Market Hall, the restaurant Nooa and the popular Food Walk tour. In addition to Turku, the article presents glimpses of Åland and Nuuksio. Visit Turku was responsible for the arrangements of Vogue China and of presenting destinations in the Turku region.

 - Having an editorial piece in Vogue China is like winning the lottery. The advertising value for these pages is 600 000 euros, but Vogue only sells advertising space for selected high-end brands and editorial articles are not for sale, says Anne-Marget Hellén, Director of Tourism at Visit Turku.

The determined marketing effort of Visit Turku in China is beginning to pay off. In September, Visit Turku had the Chinese top chef Zhao Yingbing as a guest, as he was visiting Turku as part of the Food & Fun food event. The TV channel Chongqing Broadcasting Group operating in the city of Chongqing was shooting a programme with the chef for over 900 million Chinese spectators.

The number of Chinese tourists coming to Finland is increasing sharply. According to a visitor survey conducted by Visit Finland, the number of Chinese visitors in Finland in 2016 was 356 000, which is 35 per cent more than in 2015.  Of all nationalities, the Chinese used the most money per visit. In total, Chinese visitors in Finland used 335 million euros in 2016.

Personal contacts in a key role

Having a top chef or an article of this scale in Vogue China is not a coincidence. Considerable background work has been made in the tourism sector in marketing the Turku region and Finland for the Chinese. Project Manager Anitta Bergbom who worked in China last spring as a representative of Visit Turku has played a key role in establishing relations. She assessed the opportunities and challenges of the sector in China and established partnerships with local actors.

With the agency selected as tour operator, Bergbom has been designing tourism products targeted specifically for the Chinese market. Also the contact network of the tour operator has been carefully harnessed.

- Personal contacts and twinning are key elements in all operation in the Chinese culture. Nothing happens unless someone introduces and recommends you, says Bergbom, who currently works in exchange of civil servants in the tourism department of the twinning city Tianjin.

A Vogue China journalist and a photographer as well as Chinese tour operators spent eight days in Finland at the beginning of September, most of the time in the Turku region. Collaboration partners of Visit Turku in visit arrangements include Metsähallitus and national parks, Visit Espoo, Visit Åland, Helsinki Marketing and Visit Finland.

Putting effort in media visits pays off

Visit Turku receives approximately 400 international media and tour operator guests every year. These include media representatives, bloggers, influential figures in social media and representatives of different tour operator agencies.

Effort has been put into hospitality towards visitors for years, and it shows in the excellent feedback given for visit arrangements.

- An individual programme is tailored for each guest and group based on the target group, magazine, or a blog theme. Moreover, there is always a representative of Visit Turku to host the visit, says Lotta Bäck from Visit Turku international marketing.

In 2017, the trending theme of visits has been food culture. Visitors this autumn include, for instance, the most important food-themed magazine in Germany Der Feinschmecker, with 80 000 readers who will learn about Turku through an article that will be published in the spring.

The theme of the visit by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag was Tom of Finland & design. Welt am Sonntag has 1.3 million readers and the advertising value of its articles is almost 71 000 € per page.

One example of other significant media visits taking place during the rest of the year is the German Geo Saison, whose representatives will visit Turku from 16 November to 23 November.

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