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Published on : Tuesday, June 7, 2016
This summer visitors will be served by 22 Helsinki Helpers who between them speak a total of 14 languages: Finnish, Swedish, English, Russian, Danish, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
The Helsinki Helpers work in pairs throughout the city centre and are also on hand to greet cruise ships as they arrive. They are most often asked about the sights and places to eat. Visitors are also keen to hear about the Helpers’ own personal favourites. Last summer the Helpers served approximately 165,000 visitors.
The Helsinki Helpers also use eight bicycles and one “Helper Mobile” – a customised bike with a box in the front for carrying brochures. A new brochure this summer is the Day in Helsinki illustrated map, which has printed in seven languages. In addition, the Helsinki for Kids illustrated map is available in five languages and the main Helsinki – Visitors Guide in 11 languages. Visitors who are interested in local food culture can also refer to the Food Helsinki illustrated map.
Helsinki’s green and friendly family mascot Helppi will entertain young visitors and the young at heart in the Esplanade Park, the Market Square and Senate Square on weekdays. The other Helsinki Helpers will be on duty every day of the week, including during the Finnish Midsummer holidays .
Aslak Djupsjö, 23, began working as a Helsinki Helper last summer, while this will be the first summer as a Helper for Aino Pursiaiselle, also 23. Aslak is studying to become a French-language translator and also speaks Swedish, English, German, Russian and Spanish. Aino is studying Tourism Management at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and speaks Italian, Swedish, English, French and a little German.
Aslak plans to visit the new recreational island of Vallisaari at the start of the summer so that he can tell visitors about it. Aino in turn is looking forward enthusiastically to the EuroGames happening at the end of June.“It will be interesting to see how much more bling-bling the EuroGames bring to the streets of Helsinki!” Aino remarks.
Serving as a Helsinki Helper is one of the most sought-after summer jobs in Helsinki. This spring Visit Helsinki received 350 applications for the 22 positions. Their training lasts two weeks, during which the multilingual young people brush up on their knowledge of Helsinki’s history and sights, as well as the services offered by Visit Helsinki’s partner companies.
In addition to the mobile teams of Helsinki Helpers, visitors are also served at the Tourist Information offices in the city centre and Helsinki Airport, as well as at the Info Container on Keskuskatu alongside the Ateneum Art Museum.