Opening speech by Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, at World Sauna Forum on 7 June in Tampere

“Representatives of Companies and Media, Friends of the Finnish sauna,

It is a great joy to see that the Finnish sauna increasingly arouses interest around the world, and Finland is globally known for its expertise in the sauna industry. Did you know, for example, that according to the internationally collected search engine data, tourists arriving in Finland are most interested in saunas?

The main event of the Sauna from Finland network, World Sauna Forum, is arranged now for the fifth time. The community in the sauna industry reaches international media coverage again, for many journalists have been invited from different countries, for example, in cooperation with the Embassy of Finland in London.

Sauna diplomacy has been active already for decades. Sauna bathing is an equal experience and there are no titles when we are sitting in the sauna. This creates a safe environment for cooperation.

Our nation’s sauna tradition got a valuable recognition at the end of 2020 when Finland’s sauna culture was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Sauna bathing is the Finnish tradition chosen into the list.

People are continuously striving to strengthen their health and wellbeing with everyday routines. Relaxation and recovery are long-known keys towards a balanced lifestyle. The scientifically proven health benefits of the Finnish sauna and its impact on wellbeing respond to these needs and increase the demand of Finnish saunas.

There is a large business ecosystem around the sauna and building a high-quality sauna experience requires versatile expertise from companies in different industries. Finnish companies are developing and offering unprecedented innovations, which fosters the evolution of the whole sauna industry. The continuous development of the sauna experience keeps the Finnish sauna and the sauna tradition alive.

Thank you also to the international companies for your presence and desire to spread the word about Finnish saunas abroad. The international cooperation benefits us all, us who love the Finnish sauna.

The sauna experience nowadays is a more important part of the tourism, spa, and hotel operations, than ever before. The sauna should give relaxation and better quality of sleep, while offering unforgettable experiences as well. The building or development of a new sauna service requires a large company network. Benches, sauna stove, bucket and ladle, seat covers, soaps, and towels… and of course someone to guide how to throw water on the stove or how the Finns get refreshed by ice swimming afterwards.

Sauna from Finland association does valuable work for the visibility of the Finnish sauna industry and for the high quality of sauna services. The network of around 200 companies gathers innovative representatives from different sectors of the sauna experience. Sauna from Finland unites the active businesses that support and fulfill each other.

Dear Friends of the Finnish sauna experience. I challenge you to together make better löyly experiences into every corner of the world, with respect to each other’s points of views.

Thank You!”

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