Thoughts of vacation are commonly linked with sunshine, beaches and lounging. To no surprise, the most popular travel destination of 2018 according to Travel and Leisure was Croatia.
So what do countries, cities or towns do if they aren’t at the top of people’s travel list? And, how do they get on there?
Visit Finland is taking advantage of the country being dubbed as the happiest in the world by the United Nations. On March 18, 2019, the country’s travel organization unrolled its “Rent a Finn” campaign.
The country is inviting people from around the world to visit Finland for free. Through the eight different host options, visitors will fully immerse themselves in the happiest destination on Earth for three days.
The campaign’s website noted, “Now it’s time everyone had a chance to learn from the best. Eight ordinary Finns have signed up as happiness guides and want to share their connection to nature with you. Find your happiness. Book your very own Finn.”
Finland isn’t just accepting anyone, however. “Rent a Finn” participants had to create a video discussing why they are interested and submit a form to the judges.
The Finnish hold nature close to their hearts, and it is a common theme throughout the campaign. One of the hosts, Juho, will be taking his guests “kayaking, trekking, picking berries and sleeping outdoors, either in a tent, hammock or wilderness hut.” With host Hanna, visitors will travel to Lahnajärvi, a lake near Ansalahti. There they will bake traditional Finnish pastries, hike through the forest and pick blueberries.
Each host has a video and biography on the website explaining more about them and what it would be like to stay with them.
This campaign is not the first of its kind. Earlier this year, Airbnb hosted its Italian Sabbatical. Similar to “Rent a Finn,” four contest winners traveled to the small, decaying village of Grottole. The website explained, “Selected candidates will become temporary citizens of the village and will volunteer for a local non-profit organisation called ‘Wonder Grottole’ whose aim is to revitalize the town’s historical centre.”
The goal of the campaign is to breathe life back into the village. Contest winners work alongside village citizens performing various tasks and welcoming guests.
While these two contests only have a few winners, the buzz they create among many people is invaluable. Visit Finland secured media coverage with Forbes, The Today Show and Insider. Readers of these publications and more are being exposed to the campaign and, as a result, the country.
If a country doesn’t have the sandy beaches and 80-degree weather, a contest with a free trip may be the right approach to landing a spot on people’s “Must Travel List.”
Written by Olivia Lake