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The Connect Aviation Conference culminated in a beautiful gala dinner at Nokia Arena

The International CONNECT Route Development Forum 2022 is an annual international networking event for aviation decision makers. The event in Tampere was special in many ways; previous year the gathering was missed due to the pandemic, this was the first Connect event in the Nordic countries, and international guests were able to enjoy the brand-new arena they’ve been told about from the beginning of the project.

The words amazing and wonderful were heard many times as the guests entered the arena’s bowl, where tables with white tablecloths and beautiful dinner setting were waiting. In the middle of the tables stood a gorgeously lit stage that had been built under the giant media cube for the evening’s program.

“The arena has been one of our leading messages in the development of air traffic. It has been part of our presentations since the first pencil drawings, and we’ve presented the development of the construction as things have advanced. It was indescribably great to get these people inside the arena. The circle kind of closed and the story reached its high note. The feeling of enthusiasm with our guests was mutual”, says Marja Aalto, Air Traffic Specialist from Visit Tampere.

Important steps forward through concrete action

Before this, the northernmost Connect was held in Vilnius. “The significance of the event is enormous for Tampere. In Connect, airlines meet with stakeholders such as airports and other subcontractors. We’ve been doing groundwork for many years and now we were able to prove live what has been shown in the presentations over the years – among many other things, our guests went snowshoeing and ice fishing. We can already say that few of our ongoing negotiations have progressed significantly”, Aalto reveals.

A key agenda was to showcase the arena’s diverse potential for the international guests.

“The arena had a hockey game on Wednesday, our dinner gala on Thursday and hockey again on Friday. Some of our guests were also watching the games, so we couldn’t have shown more concretely how agile the arena is for multifunctional purposes. It was impressive.”

Planning plays an essential role

For similar events, Aalto emphasizes the importance of pre-planning. All parties have an invaluable role in the process, such as Akun Tehdas, which is responsible for the technical implementations in Nokia Arena.

“It is a pleasure to market the arena for international events and congresses also from Visit Tampere point of view. At the same time, we saw for ourselves how important careful planning of this kind of a dinner event is, as there are many moving elements involved. Coordination is important before and during the evening. Fortunately, we got the right designers and creators along. My appreciation for them is huge. There was no way we could have thought and asked for everything ourselves. One idea that came in early on was to rhythm the dinner as a hockey game. The courses were like game periods and there was program on intermissions. In terms of lights and music we also got a lot of extra, which played a big role in creating the wow-effect. A fun detail was the serving of appetizers in the airline boxes donated by Air Baltic. NoHo was a flexible partner also coordinating that the lunch at the event didn’t have the same dishes as the dinner. In addition, the stage program was coordinated by an experienced stage manager. And we wanted a professional presenter who would have been able to react naturally to the situation if something surprising had happened out of the script. However, everything went great, and we got excellent feedback”, tells Aalto.

“We couldn’t have shown more concretely how agile the arena is for multifunctional purposes.”

Marja Aalto, Air Traffic Specialist, Visit Tampere