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The economic impact of the Triathlon World Championships in Lahti was nearly 30 million euros

The VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships held in Lahti in August 2023 were a success by many measures. The number of participants, internationality, media and PR attention, as well as the tourism and event production revenue generated in the area, reached record levels. Moreover, the feedback from the athletes who participated portrayed Lahti as an excellent host city.

The feedback received from the summer 2023 events, in terms of image, vitality, and economic impact, confirms the direction set by Lahti’s event and development program: to develop Lahti into Finland’s leading city for winter sports, year-round outdoor events, and mass sports events by 2030.

In the two-day Triathlon World Championships in Lahti, a total of 5,500 athletes from 115 different countries competed. Compared to many other events, the IRONMAN competition had a high degree of international participation, with up to 97% of participants arriving in Lahti from outside Finland.

The most significant economic impact generated by the events is reflected in the statistics for accommodation revenue. According to a survey directed at athletes participating in the IRONMAN event, the average stay in Finland due to the event was approximately 5.7 days, and on average, each athlete was accompanied by 1.6 people. Calculations indicate that the IRONMAN event brought around 15,000 event attendees to Finland, predominantly to the Lahti area, resulting in a combined total of 63,000 overnight stays.

Approximately 48% of event visitors stayed in hotels, motels, and holiday and leisure centers. The IRONMAN World Championships created an increase in unregistered accommodation sales (Airbnb + Vrbo) in the Lahti area throughout the summer months, as the registered accommodation capacity was noticed to be filling up well in advance of the event.

The economic impact extended to other business sectors such as food services, transportation, retail, and benefited local entrepreneurs significantly due to competitions in August. Athletes and their entourages injected around 10 million euros into the area. Additionally, event production increased the income of local operators by approximately 2 million euros.

– Lahti invests in event activities for various reasons, notably for the economic benefit to the region. The IRONMAN event strongly demonstrated that Lahti is capable and has the capacity to host events that bring significant positive economic impacts to the region’s business and residents, stated Henna Eskonsipo-Bradshaw, Director of Development of the city of Lahti.

The overall economic impact of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships amounts to 30 million euros.

In addition to economic impacts, the image benefits of the World Championships for Lahti are immense

The athlete survey revealed excellent overall satisfaction with Lahti as the host city, earning a rating of 4.1 (on a scale of 1-5). The highest positive impact was attributed to cleanliness, rated at 4.6.

Social media posts predominantly highlighted the nature of the Lahti region, its environmental cleanliness, and lake views. These same themes emerged as the primary reasons why respondents would consider returning to Lahti in the future. The lake nature in different seasons, training conditions, and events, both the IRONMAN and other sports events, emerged as appealing aspects, with nearly half of the respondents expressing interest in returning to the Lahti region someday.

The IRONMAN event significantly boosted Lahti’s event-themed media visibility. Especially in international media, there were 2100 event-themed articles, potentially reaching 3 billion readers. The live-stream broadcasts of the competition days accumulated 16 million views and were watched for 125,000 hours.

Beyond the economic impact, the positive image effects brought by hosting events are substantial, and the marketing visibility obtained through these events is nearly impossible to purchase. Events bring new target audiences for tourism from various new countries.

– International mega-events serve as fantastic showcases for the Lahti region, providing an excellent opportunity for various stakeholders to reinforce Finnish event organizing expertise. From a tourism perspective, we aim to further develop the Lahti region as a sports tourism destination and Lahti as an event city, utilizing these event-driven opportunities for marketing purposes, said Raija Forsman, CEO of Visit Lahti.

The IRONMAN events will continue in Lahti in the coming years. The next half-distance competition, IRONMAN Finland 70.3, will be held on June 29, 2024.

More information

IRONMAN Finland, Tiina Boman,, p. +358 41 445 1918
Visit Lahti, CEO Raija Forsman, p. +358 40 516 2803
City of Lahti, Director of  Development Henna Eskonsipo-Bradshaw, p. +358 44 482 0838

IRONMAN Finland 70.3, 29.6.2024