The President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the President of the U.S. Donald Trump are having a face-to-face meeting in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018. Whatever the reason was for the decision to settle for the Finland’s capital, Finns are happy to host the meeting and get some airtime on major television networks for a couple of days.
What really is the bottom line for Helsinki after the costs for planning, organizing, building and cleaning have been tallied up? Hotels and restaurants in the city center make good profits. Without Putin’s and Trump’s entourage and international media crew, the city is actually pretty quiet in July. It is the vacation month for Finns who go back to the nature to their summer cottages in July, leaving the city to tourists and birds.
Travel writer Max Boyle has published a book The Honest Tribe – Travels in Finland where he explores the culture of this Nordic nation. The book provides sharp insight into the behavior of Finns who have a strong mind-my-own-business attitude. That’s good news for Mr Putin and Mr Trump who probably also appreciate the safety of the country.
Naturally, the city of Helsinki is investing money in Putin-Trump meeting management hoping to attract more tourists, cruise travelers, and conferences into the city. Travel is one of the biggest industries in the world, and growing strongly. In the long run, that’s where the money is. Television images from the tidy and orderly city center on a sunny summer day are beautiful to watch. The sea, the parks, the old buildings, and people enjoying the short Scandinavian summer is a good combination to raise interest in Helsinki as a travel destination among television viewers.
Mr Putin has worked earlier in St Petersburg which is not far from Helsinki by the sea, and has visited numerous times the city and other places in Finland. If this is Mr Trump‘s first visit in Helsinki, or in Finland in general, the best thing he could do is to blurt out a tactless banality, or write a vicious tweet about Finland or Helsinki.
It would be noticed by everyone across the world. People are curious. and want to know what is this place Mr Trump is talking about?