Finland Is Giving Away Free Trips to Encourage Happiness

The world’s happiest country wants to spread the joy to a group of lucky applicants who will travel to the Finnish lakeland region this summer.

Finnish lakeland region

In Finland, it’s a common belief that happiness is “a skill that can be learned.”

Courtesy of Visit Finland

For six years running, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world, according to the annual World Happiness Report. And now, the northern European country wants to help travelers discover their inner joy by better understanding why its residents have such a positive outlook.

Visit Finland, the country’s tourism marketing organization, this week unveiled a new “Masterclass of Happiness” program that will take place this summer at the Kuru Resort, a remote collection of private villas (each with its own spa and sauna) designed to connect guests with its natural surroundings—the Finnish Lakeland region, a forested area of central Finland covered in lakes.

During June 12–15, 2023, experienced coaches will guide participants on what it takes to lead a balanced life “that promotes happiness the Finnish way,” according to Visit Finland. The coaching will be divided into four categories: nature and lifestyle, health and balance, food and well-being, and design.

Those who are interested in participating have until April 2, 2023, to apply—adults can apply on their own or together with one other adult on the Visit Finland website. The application is a two-step process. The first step involves filling in a very simple sign-up form online (with details such as your name, date of birth, and email address).

The second part is a social media challenge. Interested applicants are asked to create social media content either on Instagram (preferably Reels) or TikTok revealing why “you believe you may secretly be a Finn,” and why they want to join the masterclass experience in Finland. “We want to get to know you, so make sure to tell us a bit more about yourself as well,” Visit Finland writes on its Instagram account where it details the social media challenge. Based on the submissions, Visit Finland will then select 10 people to join the “four-day deep dive into what it takes to be truly happy.”

Those who are not selected for the in-person masterclass can take the class online sometime this summer when Visit Finland plans to make it widely available.

Interior of guest room at the Kuru Resort in the Finnish lakeland region

The Masterclass of Happiness will take place at the Kuru Resort in the Finnish lakeland region.

Courtesy of Visit Finland

The World Happiness Report is based on data from the Gallup World Poll and ranks countries based on responses from residents who are asked to rate their current lives on a 0 to 10 scale, with 10 being the best possible life for them and 0 being the worst possible life. While the results are based on self-reported responses, according to the Happiness Report, there are several factors that tend to contribute to higher ratings, including higher GDP per capita, a strong social support network of friends and family, higher life expectancy, greater freedoms, absence of government and corporate corruption, and charitable giving.

The Visit Finland initiative comes at a time when people are struggling to find happiness. According to the 2022 Oracle Happiness Report, which surveyed 12,000 respondents in 14 countries, 88 percent of people are looking for experiences that will make them smile and laugh, and nearly half (45 percent) of us have not felt true happiness in more than two years.

“We’ve all been through some very tough years, and around the world, we’re short on happiness,” stated Gretchen Rubin, coauthor of the Oracle Happiness Report.

In Finland, it’s a common belief that happiness is “a skill that can be learned,” Visit Finland reports.

Michelle Baran is the senior travel news editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, pandemic coverage, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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