Developing maritime Helsinki

Helsinki, 18 degrees

In tourism, seasons mean everything. There is a huge difference in services available, prices, personnel and atmosphere when it comes to different seasons. I don't think it comes as a surprise to any of you that Helsinki's tourism is highly dependent on seasons, especially the summer season. Even though one might think that a capital city like Helsinki would already have gained enough interest to have an equal amount of visitors throughout the year, unfortunately people still tend to think that our winters are too cold and arrive mostly in summertime. Fortunately this doesn't mean that our tourism "dies" in wintertime, but it surely reduces! No one can deny the weight  of the cruise visitors Helsinki has on Helsinki's tourism, this summer they'll amount to a stunning 370 000!

Source: Metrolic

Since the summers nowadays are so hectic in downtown Helsinki, I usually recommend spring or autumn in Helsinki, just because it's easier at those time to get around and see things of interest. Now in August for instance it's impossible to walk in the Esplanade park since it's too crowded. Yesterday I took my boyfriend on a boat sightseeing cruise of Helsinki, and noticed that the South Harbor area was very crowded as well. We managed to get seats on the boat only thanks to the fact that we were there about 20 minutes before departure. I've been on the boat sightseeing tours many times, but I think it's something nice to redo at least once every summer. Helsinki is after all beautiful also seen from the sea.

 Source: Strömma

At my workplace, the season change is visible in our visitor amount of course but also because our personnel changes. During summertime we have about 10 summer employees that leave us in the fall. Since I myself have worked as a summer worker, I tend to relate very much with them and every year I feel sad about them leaving. Nothing ever lasts forever, isn't that how the saying goes? I know, but it's always been hard for me to say goodbye, so I rather say "see you around".

The ones that know me really well, know that I have sometimes in my past even avoided goodbyes, just because I hate them so much. I'm very happy with our summer workers this year. Some of them really had an impact on me, and made my summer as good as it was. Isn't that something great to say about one's colleagues? I wish them all the best and hope to see them again. I personally have promised to remember all the feedback they gave about our office so that I can for my own half try to develope our workplace and make it even better for next summer.

Last Tuesday we went to Suomenlinna on a workplace health promotion day. Suomenlinna is one of the main attractions here in Helsinki, a island complex which has worked as a fortress during our Swedish days. Nowadays it's a UNESCO world heritage site of course. The interesting fact of last Tuesday is that I heard two new interesting things.

 Source: SuPS

The first one was that they're building a gunboat on Suomenlinna as we speak. This gunboat is based on the drawings and plans of naval architect F.H. af Chapman and equipped with sails and 15 pairs of oars with two men per oar. The length of the hull is 68 feet.

Source: YLE

The main aims of the shipbuilding project are to employ and instruct young people, maintain and revive skills for building tradiational wooden ships and liven up the history of the maritime fortress of the islands. The gunboat will be launched in spring 2013. At that time it will also take visitors around the Suomenlinna islands and in that sense enrich the service supply for visitors there. Yet again, another way to make Helsinki even more attractive as a destination. When I saw the boat being build, I instantly thought about the Vikings but even though this is not going to be a Viking boat, it's still going to be breathtaking.

At the same time I also heard about some future plans of the Helsinkian archipelago. As some of you might know, Helsinki has about 315 islands in front of her. Until now though, it has only been possible to visit these islands one by one. There have not been any kind of island hopping tours in Helsinki. Now finally there are plans for this kind of tours, yey! This would mean a more circulate route among the islands instead of the one we have right now.

Source: Google maps

Suomenlinna has also initiated some negotiations concerning the fact that Suomenlinna could be united with two other islands called Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari, located close by to the Seafortress Island. Together these two islands are bigger than whole Suomenlinna, which would been that if it would be possible to connect them, Suomenlinna would be turned into a larger island concept and be seen as a whole day destination. Right now Suomenlinna is considered a half day destination.

Isn't all this new information exciting?

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