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Helsinki scores among the top three destinations for visitors. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A recent study conducted by TravelBird has confirmed that Helsinki is one of the top destinations in the world for visitors. Based on research conducted including expert opinions, port of entry (airport) quality and features, safety standards, happiness ratings, English proficiency, the openness of locals to host tourists at home and tourism carrying capacity, Helsinki scored highly, ranking third out of 100 cities considered. Many of the criteria examined were crucial to what constituted as a “welcoming city,” which was the focus of the study.

Perhaps it is the clean air that makes expats feel welcome or the safety the city boasts compared to other large metropolises around the world. The myth of the “silent Finn” can quickly be dispelled and the willingness of locals to speak and engage in the English language can be held as an important factor. Furthermore, Helsinki does not suffer from overcrowding due to tourism, a feature that drives up the cost of living and therefore, the reluctance of locals to accept tourists with open arms.

The opinion of experts and locals was also an important determinant of how welcoming a city was. Travel reporters were quizzed on how they felt as tourists visiting the city. Helsinki residents were also questioned about their thoughts on accepting outsiders to their city. The methods used for the study were a combination of analyzing qualitative and quantitative measures. How visitors felt regarding their safety was just as important as the statistical data related to the availability of hotel beds in the city, “Couchsurfing” and other criteria related to the overall index.

The only cities scoring higher overall to Helsinki were Singapore, at number one and Stockholm at number two. However, Helsinki scored higher than Singapore in expert opinion, happiness, and English proficiency. Helsinki also ranked higher than Stockholm in safety, happiness and tourism carrying capacity. The high ratings and top-quality features of the city make Helsinki, a city celebrating 100 years of independence this year, one of the top tourist destinations in the world today.