Internet service giant Tencent and the City of
Helsinki last week launched a WeChat Helsinki mini program.
The new application offers Helsinki travel
information in Chinese to almost one billion WeChat users.
China is the largest outbound tourism market in
the world. The cooperation between Helsinki and Tencent gives the
Finnish capital a groundbreaking channel straight into the mobile
devices of WeChat users. Helsinki has set itself the goal of being
the most digitalised city in the world, and the cooperation with
Tencent ensures that the city is already now a globally remarkable
innovator in digital tourism services.
"This is Tencent's first overseas pilot
cooperation project in the field of smart city tourism," said Zhan Shu, General Manager of the
Tencent Governmental Affairs and Tourism Center. "The
project provides comprehensive and practical information about
overseas destinations for Chinese tourists and a more convenient
platform for overseas destinations to showcase their urban charm.
Helsinki wants to build a more tailored travel experience for
Chinese visitors, and forming a partnership with Tencent is the
right way to do that."
In September 2017 the City of Helsinki and
Tencent signed a cooperation agreement, according to which
Helsinki will serve as an intelligent tourism model for Chinese
outbound tourism. The two cooperation partners have since
co-developed a destination mini program that offers Helsinki travel
information to almost one billion WeChat users.
The initial version of the WeChat Helsinki mini
program allows users to access content about Helsinki's sights,
services, events and transportation. Panoramic Helsinki
360-photos, a translation service and emergency help are also
"Helsinki's strategic aim is to be the
forerunner city of digitalisation in the near future. For
travellers we want to be the safest, most functional and happiest
place to visit. The Helsinki mini program makes it possible to
share what's best about Helsinki with millions of Chinese people
in a way that creates a sharable, local experience," said Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki.
In the near future the WeChat Helsinki mini
program will also include an interactive map and a public
transportation journey planner. The aim is also to include the
possibility to buy mobile tickets for public transport and test
the WeChat Pay integration for some of the services.
Finnair offers nearly 40 direct flights a week
from seven major Chinese cities to Helsinki and the number of registered
overnight stays by Chinese travellers in Helsinki has more than
doubled in the past five years. In 2017 the number of overnight
stays by Chinese visitors increased by 29.3% on the
previous year to 135,000.
The Beijing-based World Tourism
Cities Federation (WTCF) has selected Helsinki to be the
host city of its 2019 summit meeting. Beijing and Helsinki have
been sister cities since 2006.
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