Matka Nordic Travel Fair is Northern Europe’s largest travel event. After having to take a break for a couple of years due to Covid-pandemic, Travel Fair was successfully hosted in Helsinki this January. Matka Nordic Travel Fair is an event for everyone. It is an opportunity for professionals working in the industry to meet each other and make deals. For students, Travel Fair provides an opportunity to make connections with future employees and see what the industry has to offer. Travel Fair also had open days for everyone interested in travelling and visiting new destinations. More than 900 companies from 70 different countries participated in the event entity and more than 50 000 visitors visited the events between January 19th and 22nd 2023. (Matka Nordic Travel Fair was attended in large numbers 2023.)
Finally! Student’s field trip to the Travel Fair was possible again
Before Covid, attending the travel fair has been an annual tradition for Jamk Tourism Management students. This year, the students had an opportunity to participate the fair during the student afternoon on January 20th. On a Friday morning students hopped onto buses, and we began our journey to Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre. According to Matka Nordic Travel Fair, the student afternoon’s purpose was to increase knowledge about the travel industry and to inspire. (Matka 2023 -messujen Opiskelijailtapäivä n.d).
Getting familiar with the field
Upon arrival we had about five hours to look around the Fair Center, get to know potential future employees and go listen to presentations. First and second-year students had an assignment for their Development as an Expert -course, where they had to find interesting companies, discuss with the company representatives about their service offering and what kind of skills and competences they value in new employees. This was a good and natural way to grow student’s global professional network, and knowledge of the needs of the companies and open positions.
Student afternoon did also host a recruiting pop-up where I met quite a few students talking and networking with different companies. Even I had a moment of revelation on what kind of companies do work with travel-related themes, like a motor vehicle union. Who would have thought?
Many aspects of sustainability
In the Fair Center, there were different stages where presentations were given both in English and in Finnish. One of the stages was called a Sustainability Square. The International Centre of Responsible Tourism network (ICRT) hosted a panel on that afternoon. The panel was about different forms of tourism. We got to hear what is Volunteer Tourism and whether we should even use a term called Digi Travel. The topic raised good questions and conversation in the audience. One of Jamk’s lectures, Rositsa Röntynen, was a part of the panel, sharing her knowledge about volunteer tourism.
Valuable day for the students
At the end of our day, I did go and ask Tourism Management students what they thought of the day and what did they do. Students told me that they had a fun day and liked that Jamk had provided them with this kind of opportunity. Some students had made connections with international operators about future practical training places and jobs. Email addresses were exchanged. Overall, this was a successful day.
Matka 2023 -messujen Opiskelijailtapäivä. N.d. Page on the Matka Nordic Travel Fair 2023 website. Accessed February 9th 2023. Retrieved from https://matka.messukeskus.com/opiskelijailtapaiva/
Matka Nordic Travel Fair was attended in large numbers. 2023. Messukeskus press release. Accessed February 9th 2023. Retrieved from https://messukeskus.com/press-release/matka-nordic-travel-fair-was-attended-in-large-numbers/?lang=en
Tiina-Riitta Härsilä is a 3rd year Service Business student who is doing her practical training as a Tourism Management Team Assistant. As a part of her practical training, she got to visit a lot of cool places.