• Discover
  • Plan
  • We can help

CONNECT Route Development Forum in Tampere

Credits: Teemu Toikka

A presenter standing on a stage and co-panelists sitting behind.
Credits: Teemu Toikka

Over 500 participants from 45 different countries gathered in Tampere

CONNECT Route Development Forum gathered airlines and airports at the first international post-covid event in Tampere.

Over 500 participants from 45 different countries gathered in Tampere in February 2022 for the 18th Route Development Forum. It was the first major international congress in Finland since the spring of 2020, and the first face-to-face Route Development Forum in two years.

“We chose Tampere to be the host of CONNECT 2022 because it offered an altogether different concept from previous events. Tampere purposefully positioned the hosting around the winter theme, CONNECT with ice, which was both daring and very original. Even more so as we had staged the 2 previous CONNECT events in the Mediterranean (Italy and Turkey). The destination provided a rich offer which combined the discovery of stupendous nature, fabulous hospitality, and the possibility to experience the Finnish lifestyle in wintertime”, says Ms Karin Butot, CEO of CONNECT – Route Development Forum.

The three congress days consisted of altogether over 3,000 one-to-one meetings, several keynote speeches and panel discussions, as well as social activities and programmes.


A group of conference attendees learning how to ice skate in Tampere, Finland.
Credits: Jukka Salminen

“For me the most important element of this congress is the possibility to connect face-to-face in an experience-enhancing environment”, explains Ms Butot. “In Tampere, we did this by providing a high level of professional assistance to all delegates: from their point of arrival in Tampere and Helsinki to the very last minutes spent in our company. From smooth transfers, to refreshing excursions, from tasting local healthy food to experiencing state-of-the-art technology at the Nokia Arena, from exploring the unique setting of our city to the stretching landscapes of our two surrounding lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi”.

The congress was a combined effort of the City of Tampere and Business Tampere. Mr Harri Ojala, who is director of investments and global operations at the latter, was one of the key people in attracting the congress. “We decided to apply for the congress already in 2016”, he explains. “Our city is one of the leading technology hubs in Europe and a home for half a million people, but it has been a very underserved flight market. We saw that organizing CONNECT here could change that. Hosting VIPs of the airline industry would make them notice the opportunity, and it did”.

How was Tampere as a congress destination, Ms Butot?

“The level of service, assistance and pro-activity was overwhelming. We instantly felt at home with all the teams involved in delivering the event. Nothing was too much trouble and the communication was always warm, open, and constructive. The event venue proved to be perfect and in total harmony with our objectives: it was compact, easy to work with, very light: it provided the ideal backdrop for our delegates to meet again. Local food received fantastic feedback and we were delighted that our delegates enjoyed the daily fresh breads and locally sourced vegetables. Finally, the city itself is a delight to explore: with a rich architectural heritage, hotels and facilities within walking distance, it makes for a relaxing experience. This in return means our participants are making the most of their time and of the added event opportunities”.

“It was great to meet face-to-face after such a long time, after two pandemic years, and get to introduce Tampere to the visitors who decide on the airlines’ future routes. During the event, we introduced them to the new Nokia Arena and the high-level technological know-how of the region”, rejoices Visit Tampere’s Senior Aviation Specialist Marja Aalto, who was the local host of the event.

An overall view of a congress hall with lots of different coloured lights and a huge jumbotron in the middle.
Credits: Teemu Toikka

CONNECT Route Development Forum was held in Tampere Hall on 23-25 February 2022. It was organized by The Airport Agency France and hosted by the City of Tampere and Business Tampere.