The International Distribution Paths project was run by Tampere Region Festivals in 2018–2019 with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture. Its main objectives were to identify distribution channels suitable for those members of the association prepared for internationalisation and to put festival products up for international sale. In addition, the aim was to identify new audiences among the international congress visitors arriving in Tampere Region and to extend their stay in the region.
The first phase of the project involved six festivals with an advanced level of internationalisation: Mänttä Art Festival, Sastamala Gregoriana, Tampere Film Festival, Tampere Jazz Happening, Tampere Vocal Music Festival and Tampere Theatre Festival. In the continuation phase, Fest Afrika, Tampere Guitar Festival, Tampere Christmas Market, Tampere Dance Current – Contemporary Dance Festival, Pispala Schottische and World of Tango Festival joined the project.
The project strengthened the network and competence of the key members of the festival staff. These included activities aimed at the Visit Tampere partner network, training provided by Visit Finland and the project’s own training that focused on internationalisation. Furthermore, the project also invested in cooperation with national incoming agencies.
During the project, the festival operators made marketing trips to selected target countries. In addition, Tampere Region Festivals promoted the events at the ITB Berlin travel fair and the WOMEX conference. A joint Tampere Region Festivals 2020 brochure was also produced for marketing purposes.The project gave rise to a working group of experts from the congress, festival and tourism sectors, with the aim to map out and apply for funding for a joint congress and festival project in order to increase synergy between congresses and festivals in Tampere Region.