Finnish people are eschewing foreign holidays at an unprecedented rate, with last year showing a record increase in domestic tourism bookings, amidst a decline in the number of international trips. A number of reasons have been attributed to this emerging trend, including rising travel costs, environmental concerns, and a general revival of interest in local culture.
Benny Smeds is a fascinating individual, out to “spread the love” and help everyone he encounters. That's fortunate, as those traits lend themselves to his line of work as a life coach and as founder and CEO of VIP Finland, a luxury destination management and concierge service.
Born just outside Helsinki, Smeds went on to find himself abroad, everywhere from California to Switzerland, the latter being where he studied BBA and Hospitality Management at the Hotel Institute Montreux. Back in Finland, he set up his destination management company.
The serene setting of the Pargas – or Parainen in Finnish – archipelago is made up of 10,000 islands. The recent union of five municipalities has created a municipality with one of the highest amount of islands in the Åboland (Turunmaa in Finnish) area. It is located in the Finland Proper region in southwestern Finland, and is a bilingual municipality with a majority of Swedish speakers.
RIVERS, lakes and the Kvarken archipelago – Pedersöre, or Pedersören kunta in Finnish, has a diverse nature to offer, not to mention excellent places to spend a day unwinding by fishing. It is a bilingual municipality in the Ostrobothnia region, with a majority of Swedish speakers. Historically it is one of the oldest parishes in the Ostrobothnia region.
Home of Finnish National poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, Jakobstad, or Pietarsaari in Finnish, has been an important player in the cultural development of the west coast in Ostrobothnia. It is a bilingual municipality with a majority of Swedish speakers, situated by the sea.
On the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia lies a municipality which played an important role in Finnish history – both in its occupation by Russia, and its independence. Vörå, or Vöyri in Finnish, is a bilingual municipality with a majority of Swedish speakers. It is incidentally also where Jean Sibelius got married.
A river flows idly through a town in the Ostrobothnia region. A historic railway marks the spot of the harbour. The town is called Nykarleby, and is the centre of the Nykarleby, or Uusikaarlepyy, municipality.
Korsholm, or Mustasaari in Finnish, is located in the Ostrobotnia region. The municipality has a majority of Swedish speakers. Over half of the Kvarken archipelago region, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located in Korsholm.
Malax, or Maalahti in Finnish, is a municipality in the Ostrobothnia region and part of the Vaasa sub-region. It is a bilingual municipality with a majority of Swedish speakers. Its unique nature has allowed it to become a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage site.
Kronoby, or Kruunupyy in Finnish, is located in the Ostrobothnia region. It is a bilingual municipality, with a Swedish speaking majority. It boasts beautiful nature, a plethora of museums, and a friendly – and humorous! – population.
In 1969, Kronoby, Nedervetil and Terjärv municipalities married up to become Kronoby municipality. The aim of the unification was to create a strong community with a high level of service and discretion. Since 1983, the municipality has been a bilingual one.