Finland is considered as a top-of-mind long-haul destination by major travel agents in the ramp-up phase, JTB, the main organizer of this time's event being one of them. JTB is known as the biggest and most prestigious travel agency in Japan with over 15 000 employees. Previously, Finland has not been of high priority for the company compared to traditional European destinations such as Italy and France. However, the pandemic has changed the course and Finland is now seen as one of the most promising long-haul destinations in the post-pandemic time thanks to the positive and safe country image and direct access. Visit Finland Japan has actively been working with the company for joint promotions since last year, aiming to start selling packages to Finland as soon as the border control in Japan is eased.
Similarly to other travel agencies in Japan and around the world, JTB has been forced to rethink their business model while waiting the outbound travel to restart. To keep their consumers engaged, JTB created an event series "Kokoro trip" (meaning "a trip of the heart") of 30 domestic events where their customers could enjoy foreign cultures while still staying in Japan. Thanks to Finland's highly positive country image matching the new normal, Visit Finland's efforts as well as Metsä Pavilion providing a unique event venue, Finland was chosen as one of the event line-ups. And was the most popular one with tickets selling out quickly, thanks to comprehensive support from Visit Finland joint promotions, social media postings and PR work.
The event itself was organized in mid-June with the concept of finding, feeling and experiencing Finland in the middle of Tokyo. The event was held in two identical parts to make as many customers as possible enjoy happy Finnish moments while still keeping a close eye on the Covid-19 precautions. A total of 134 participants joined the event with only one no-show. With a ticket of around 60 euros, the participants could enjoy 2.5 hours of program consisting of talk shows of Finnish lifestyle and culture, souvenir shopping, aurora viewing, taking photos in a sauna showroom and having a Finnish coffee break "kahvitauko".