Happiness matters, visit Finland
Visit Finland recently held a workshop on the Finland Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020 with travel industry partners and The Ambassador of Finland to the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, Marianne Nissilä, to celebrate winning the Happiest Country in the World for the fourth consecutive year.
Ambassador Nissilä said, “Finland has been awarded for the fourth consecutive year as the Happiest Country in the United Nations World Happiness report.
“Finnish happiness runs deeper than just pure joy. I think we have created our own receipt for happiness. Mixing mutual trust, freedom and stability with quality education and accountable transparent administration, good income level with social safety nets, equality in many ways, not least between men and women.
“I encourage all of you to come to Finland and see it with your own eyes. You will find a safe and well-functioning society where people are living close to nature. The country is 70 per cent forest. You can feel our clean waters, fresh air and cold climate.”
Kristina Hietasaari, Senior Director Visit Finland, sheds more light on the country’s sustainability initiatives. “It is our objective that Finland will be one of the most sustainable countries, at least in the northern part of Europe very soon. Now, most of our travel companies are running on a very sustainable way because of the laws and regulations we have in Finland. The challenge was how to communicate this to our clients and potential travellers.
“With this we decided about two years ago to be part of a project in Finland called Sustainable Travel Finland programme.
“One thing that has been defined as a benchmark within our sustainability programme is the holistic way we see sustainability. Very often we talk about the economic and environmental aspects of sustainability, but for us sustainability also means economical sustainability, cultural and social responsibility. Equality is also very important, that you are treating all your employees fairly, many issues that are not usually included in sustainability programmes.
“We have defined these steps in all these aspects and what it takes for a company or a destination to socially sustainable. We have received some complaints from some companies that it is too hard and that it will take to much time but we are not giving any exceptions or make any easier.”Michelle Karam, Entrepreneur TJD, Boutique Adventure Travel Company, said, “There are so many ways of seeing Finland - not just the Northern Lights and husky safari. One of my favourites things is “ruska,” the autumn season around September. It is the most magical times with the leaves changing colours, the sun looking like its floating in the water, bear watching, river rafting, hiking. You can also still see the Northern Lights this time of year too. Autumn is an underrated season. So is summer. Finland is known as the land of 1,000 magical islands. In the winter, you can’t see them as the lake is frozen. In summer, you can go island hopping and so much more that you normally can’t see during the polar season.”