Next week Messukeskus Helsinki hosts the biggest travel event in northern Europe as the MATKA Nordic Travel Fair introduces the most intriguing travel destinations from around the world with the help of hundreds of exhibitors and a vast programme. Both travel trade professionals and the general public are welcome to this unique event.  

On Friday 16 January the event opens its doors for everybody at noon. The programme is designed to inspire and give valuable information on different destinations and forms of travel.  

The Sibelius150 stage celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and the programme is compiled accordingly. It entails musical performance as well as dance performances from around the world including Egyptian folk dance tanoura, flamenco, samba and a variety of Indonesian dances. The programme also includes some speeches, most of which will be conducted in Finnish.  

The Sun & Sea stage focuses on destinations further away. It introduces hiking in Nepal and East Africa, Caribbean cruises, Egypt, Taiwan, Curacao, underwater adventures in the Red Sea and the most intriguing islands of Thailand. Also on this stage some of the programme is in Finnish.  

The Mondo stage introduces the reporters of the travel magazine Mondo as well as the writers of their famous guidebooks. These experts give tips on, for example, which European cities to visit and tailored trips to all parts of the globe.  

Travel professionals discuss current issues 

Travel trade professionals as well as members of the press are welcome to the MATKA Fair already on Thursday 15 January and on Friday 16 January from 9-12 to discuss current travel matters.  

Here are some examples of the professional programme:  

·         Social media can make a difference! (Sibelius-Stage, Thu at 9.15) 
Social Media is a powerful content generator for the travel industry. How to turn social media content into sales? How are bloggers changing the world? Social media can make a difference on tourism. 
Andrew Chow, Founder, Ideas & Concepts 
Shane Dallas, Travel blogger, The Travel Camel  
Jussi-Pekka Erkkola, Industry Manager, Travel, Google Finland 

·         What does global mean in 2015? (Sibelius-Stage, Thu at 12.30)    
What does it mean to be truly global? As a growing number of companies look to globalize their travel programmes, how can you manage multiple locations with multiple cultures and multiple technologies? Informed session on the advantages and limitations of globalization from the perspective of someone who works across three continents.  Matthew Pancaldi, Global Director Client Management, HRG. In cooperation with HRG.    

·         LGBT-Travel, the untapped goldmine?  (Mondo Satge, Thu at 12.30) 
LGBT-travel is one of the  fastest growing segments in the travel-industry. German LGBT-tourists spend 30 billion Euro annually on travel and the upcoming Chinese market has a total consumer value over 700 billion USD/year, but how to benefit from it? CEO Tobias Holfelt, MB Market Makers   

The MATKA Nordic Travel Fair is the largest travel event in northern Europe and it is organised at Messukeskus Helsinki 15-18 January 2015. The partner country in 2015 is Egypt. The Caravan fair for motor homes and caravans is held at the same time.