Helsinki Marketing, Tencent and Finnair have signed a cooperation agreement to launch a travel solutions project in the WeChat mini program ecosystem, with an aim to enhance digital services for Chinese travellers.
Earlier this year, Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, and internet giant Tencent launched the WeChat MyHelsinki mini program, developed to respond to the needs of independent Chinese travellers. With an array of new initiatives including plans to collaborate with key Chinese companies, Helsinki is has set an ambitious goal to become “the most functional city in the world”.
“At the forefront of creating future services”
On 6 September 2018, the mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, visited Beijing along with a delegation of official representatives, and said: “With people around the world more able and willing to explore new places, Helsinki and our partners both in China and in Finland are striving to be at the forefront of creating future services that meet with the needs of Chinese visitors.”
The number of Chinese overnight stays in Helsinki has more than doubled within the past three years from 108,000 in 2014 to 221,000 in 2017.
As more and more Chinese seek to find local and authentic experiences, the WeChat MyHelsinki mini program serves as a guide with its multiple useful functions. It makes Helsinki the first city in the world to combine tailored personal recommendations, mobility planning, and purchase options for travellers in one service.
Through the app, Chinese travellers visiting Helsinki will be able to review local tips about the best restaurants or attractions in town, plan their transportation, and pay for both transportation and restaurant bills.
To further support the program, the mayor of Helsinki and his delegation will also participate on the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit in Qingdao on 7-9 September 2018. Helsinki has also been chosen as the host city of the network’s annual Summit in August 2019.
Finnair and Helsinki Airport is also leading the way for the Chinese by persistently working to develop connections between China and Finland. Currently, almost 40 weekly flights from Helsinki to seven different cities in Greater China are available from Finnair.
The national carrier has also been at the forefront of tailoring its service to Chinese customers by being the first airline to introduce online payment platform, Alipay, onboard its flights. Alipay is now also widely accepted in travel services in the whole of Finland.