Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre has persistently been looking for alternative uses for its halls emptied by the pandemic. This commencing May will be busy at Messukeskus, both in the halls and in the conference facilities, although it will not be possible to organise large trade events this spring.
Last autumn, in the middle of the worst pandemic period, Messukeskus successfully and safely organised entrance exams for 5,000 applicants to Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Encouraged by the good experience, Laurea will also organise its entrance exams this spring at Messukeskus.
This spring, in addition to Laurea, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and the University of Helsinki have also concentrated their entrance exams in May/June for about 45 000 students to Messukeskus. The exams are conducted in a Covid-19 safe manner by spreading out the large number of participants over a period of several weeks and several shifts and by strictly following instructions by authorities.
One of the halls at Messukeskus is still reserved for Covid-19 vaccinations, and in the parking garage, healthcare company Mehiläinen’s drive-in Covid-19 testing continues.
In May/June, Messukeskus serves as a facility for advance voting in the municipal election. Voting arrangements are already planned and they emphasise safety. The routes of incoming and outgoing voters have been separated, and hygiene and safety distances have been carefully planned.
The Covid-19 safe conference facilities at Messukeskus have also been used by the Court Office. Labour Tribunal and Market Court deliberations have been held there.
There is still space enough for padel enthusiasts. The indoor fields built at Messukeskus have been reopened after the break, and additional fields will also be opened outside for the summer season.
At the very end of the month, there are plans to organise MP Motorcycle Test Driving Days 2021, where the novelties of motorcycle brands can be tried out while driving on the street.
Messukeskus has built a bridge over the crisis by strengthening its virtual and hybrid business. In May, Messukeskus will host the virtual EAS congress in the medicine field and live TV broadcast of the Emma Gala for Finnish music and assist several other clients in the production of online meetings and trainings.
Messukeskus has adapted its operations in many ways and looked for alternative uses for its premises. We are pleased that the functional and logistically superior facilities will benefit Helsinki with such new uses, but it will not replace the income stream of our normal business, says Managing Director Anni Vepsäläinen.
Many European countries have introduced subsidies to help the hard-hit industry, and in particular corporate events and congresses. These countries understand the social significance of corporate events and their role as economic stimulus and employers. Similar subsidies are badly needed in Finland as well, Vepsäläinen says.
The doors of Messukeskus were closed more than a year ago, and since then it has only been possible to continue operations on a small scale. In the first year of the pandemic, turnover fell by two-thirds, the total number of visitors was one third of previous years, and Messukeskus’ economic impact on the surrounding business area fell by 80 per cent.
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