Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
HELSINKI — For the second year in a row, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world in the latest World Happiness Report. And now, travellers can learn firsthand why Finns are so darn cheerful – by renting one for themselves.
A new campaign by Visit Finland this summer will allow tourists to ‘Rent a Finn’ as a way to experience how the locals live in true harmony with nature.
Now, it’s not just any random Finn off the street, mind you. Finnish citizens can apply to work as happiness guides who’ll welcome visitors into their homes and help them ‘understand the Finnish art of relaxation’.
The application period for guests is open until April 14, 2019.
“Many travellers choose to visit Finland because of our uniquely peaceful nature and tranquility,” said Heli Jimenez, Senior Director, International Marketing, Business Finland. “The ‘Rent a Finn’ campaign is in response to the global travel trend of living like a local, which is all about sharing genuine experiences with ordinary people.
“Pure nature is a part of life in Finland. We go outdoors in any weather, let our babies nap outside and spend a great deal of time in nature in general. Our happiness guides all share a certain awareness, a great love of nature and an appreciation for slow living.
According to Visit Finland, studies show that nature can balance the mind and alleviate stress. Even a short walk in nature can lower blood pressure while at the same time boost endorphin levels.
Tasked with highlighting nature’s benefits are eight initial happiness guides, all ordinary Finns who’ve been chosen from among hundreds of applicants.
Linda Räihä, one of the eight guides, says, “Time runs differently on our island. It seems to slow down somehow and there is never a need for hurry. There are many ways to connect with nature, from working in your vegetable patch, boating, fishing, heating up the sauna or foraging for mushrooms and berries in the forest.”
The visits will take place during summer 2019 and will be free of charge for travellers.
For more information go to visitfinland.com.