Friday, January 29, 2016

Ruka-Kuusamo is the leading destination of wellness tourism in the north

For several years, the Ruka-Kuusamo tourism area entrepreneurs have worked hard in building a network of wellness services in the area. This activity has now been recognized also elsewhere. 25 wellness products have been selected into the Visit Finland (formerly Finnish Tourist Board) theme-based program, FinRelax. These products have been given a star status, and three of them are located in Kuusamo.
The list of star products was published at the Helsinki Travel Fair on 22 January. Among the Ruka-Kuusamo companies, star status was awarded to SaunaTour Kuusamo Lapland, Kuusamo Folk Healers’ Gathering, and Chalet Ruka Peak that provides natural luxury at the peak of Ruka fell. Over 100 Finnish companies participated in the FinRelax product competition.

Marjo Määttä from Rukan Salonki Chalets, one of the hostesses of SaunaTour, is happy to see how the long-term effort of the local companies is now bearing fruit. In Kuusamo, wellness tourism has been under special focus for several decades.
– There are so many elements that fit under the well-being derived from nature. For example, SaunaTour is a product that separates us from others, and captures the interest of international customers. We have succeeded in choosing the right products and productizing them. Here in Kuusamo, training courses in wellness tourism have been offered already since the mid-1990s, Ms Määttä says.
The fact that three very different products were selected as star products in Kuusamo gives special pleasure to Ms Määttä.
– Our frame of reference is nature, but success comes from collaboration. The companies in Kuusamo have understood that none of us is able to make it alone.

The entire national tourism industry is seeking growth from well-being.

– Wellness tourism is the fastest growing branch of tourism worldwide, with over 10 per cent growth per year, says FinRelax Program Manager Kiti Hakkinen.
 FinRelax Program is a new way to develop things self-evident to Finns into products for international visitors. These things include the clean, untouched nature, moving around in the wilderness, the northern food and flavours, berry picking, the sauna tradition, and various treatments.
– Finland has a fair chance of becoming a leading northern country in wellness tourism, if we focus on the strengths that separate us from other countries. The 25 selected leading companies represent Finnish wellness tourism and its many aspects comprehensively, says Ms Hakkinen.
The goal of FinRelax Program is to generate entirely new wellness tourism by connecting accommodation and tourist services, adventure services, Finnish food producers, new technology, and product innovations.
– The Program provides a setting and a network for crossing the barriers between industries, Ms Hakkinen says.
In addition to sauna, folk healing, and natural luxury, things such as wild herbs, the untouched wilderness, and silence have been productized for the benefit of foreign visitors. Under a common brand, companies are now heading to the markets of Germany, Japan, and Russia. The star products nominated by FinRelax will be launched for international tourists at the ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show in March. The products will also appear in the marketing material of Visit Finland. 

Chalet Ruka Peak is a boutique hotel and restaurant that has offered natural luxury for their guests for over a decade.
The patron of the hotel, Hannu Kuusiniemi, regards the star status awarded to his hotel as a fine tribute.
– This recognition gives us a great base for developing our product further, he smiles.
The Chalet Ruka Peak wellness product is a combination of quality accommodation, the finest view over the fell, clean nature, top quality service, Kuusamo wild food, smoke sauna built in a cave, and wellness treatments.
– Our success comes from a big-hearted attitude combined with an unbearable lightness of being –style philosophy.  
According to Mr Kuusiniemi, Kuusamo’s strong influence as the leader of wellness tourism is based on the unique nature and innovative entrepreneurs of the area. People in Kuusamo are used to working and productizing things in their own way. The products selected into the FinRelax Program are unique; such products do not exist elsewhere.
– The principal element in wellness tourism is the environment. We all should realize that Kuusamo is the safest and cleanest place in the world.

The third product to receive a star status is the Kuusamo Folk Healers’ Gathering. Organized by Rukapalvelu Oy and The Folk Healers’ Association of Finland, the next Kuusamo Folk Healers’ Gathering will be held on 11–17 July 2016.
– The event creates opportunities for meetings that maintain old ways and allow people to learn new things. We have tried to establish an event where interaction is part of the experience, describes Anne Murto from Rukapalvelu.
Organized for the fifth time this year, Kuusamo Folk Healers’ Gathering has grown into a week-long, international dialogue with a focus on nature and people. Italian guests have already found their way to the event, and visitors are also expected from Viena Karelia this year.
– Finland is the best source of natural well-being in the world. In Kuusamo, wellness comes from the clean nature, genuine and original products, connection with nature, and from our ancient traditions, says Ms Murto.
Another goal of the Folk Healers’ Gathering is to cast light on Finnish culture and tradition, and thereby provide a way to a deeper nature experience. Finnishness symbolizes a set of values that the organizers wish to communicate: reliability, strength, authenticity.
– We produce an event where offering comprehensive treatment to people becomes visible and alive. The seminar offers a wide selection of information, and through their healing hands, folk healers offer people reliable remedies. Kuusamo provides a setting where silence is nurtured, and our sensitive ecosystem as well as the local culture are taken into account.

During the next Kuusamo Folk Healers’ Gathering, the second national Visit Finland FinRelax ACADEMY will be held at Kuusamo Hall on 14 July 2016. This wellness product development training event is expected to attract more than 200 visitors from Finnish tourism companies.
– We regard Finnish treatments as one of the four basic elements of the FinRelax Program, along with sauna, wild food, and well-being derived from the clean nature, says Kiti Hakkinen.
According to Ruka Kuusamo Tourist Association Manager Mats Lindfors, the achieved development in wellness tourism in Kuusamo is a very welcome step forward in the development of the entire tourism industry.
–The Ruka-Kuusamo region has been a popular nature tourism destination since the 1850s. Here, well-being derived from nature includes outdoor activities and wellness services as well as the local, genuine wild food, Mr Lindfors says.

More information:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ruka is Finland’s best, third time round!

For the third consecutive time, Ruka Holiday Resort was awarded several titles at the World Ski Awards 2015 Gala in Kitzbühel, Austria. In the Awards Gala held on Saturday 21 November 2015, Ruka Ski Resort received the title of the Best Ski Resort of Finland. The title of Finland’s Best Ski Hotel went to Hotel Rantasipi Rukahovi, and Rukan Salonki was named Finland’s Best Ski Chalet. This was the third consecutive time these companies, all located in Kuusamo, were recognized as winners of their categories.
According to Sion Rapson, Managing Director of World Ski Awards, this is a unique achievement, one that no other resort has reached before.
– The first win was great, the second time quite convincing, but after the third win there is no doubt about who is the best.

Launched in 2013, World Ski Awards is the sister organisation of World Travel Awards which is currently celebrating its 22nd anniversary. World Ski Awards rewards organisations that are leaders in their field. The programme has categories for the Best Ski Resort, Best Ski Hotel, Best Ski Boutique Hotel and Best Ski Chalet for each of the world’s top 24 ski tourism nations. A record number of votes was cast in the competition this year. Votes were received from over 1.4 million registered voters in 139 countries.

Rukakeskus CEO Ville Aho regards the title as a commendation specifically from international customers, and therefore it has a huge value to the entire Ruka Holiday Resort.
– This shows that we have succeeded in charming our international guests, Mr Aho smiles.
According to Mr Aho, the foundation of the success of Ruka Ski Resort lies in the unique natural beauty of Kuusamo, combined with quality service, activities suitable for the whole family, and safe and easy alpine skiing. The title is backed up by results from customer satisfaction surveys. International guests have given exceptionally good marks to Ruka regarding both the services of the resort and the quality of the slopes.
– Together with customer feedback, this award underlines the potential that Ruka has. We are much more than just a ski resort. This feels so great. Everyone who works at Ruka should be proud and happy for this title, Mr Aho says.

The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. According to Lea Riekki, General Manager of Finland’s Best Ski Hotel Rantasipi Rukahovi, the cornerstones of business in a hillside hotel are personalized service and a diverse selection of rooms and restaurants. Smooth cooperation with the versatile and popular Ruka Ski Resort also has an effect on the successful outcome.
– I am extremely flattered and happy for the fact that Rantasipi Rukahovi was again voted the best ski hotel in Finland. Naturally, our entire staff deserve a special thanks for this title, Ms Riekki says.

Sales Director Marjo Määttä, also one of the owners of Rukan Salonki, says that the whole staff of their family business are extremely proud of the title of Finland’s Best Ski Chalet, now received for the third time.
– We wish to thank all our customers and partners who voted for us. Our all-inclusive service concept, and our close cooperation with the best service companies in the Ruka-Kuusamo region are the factors that guarantee top-quality service to our customers. We welcome our guests to spend a genuinely carefree holiday enjoying the cleanest nature in the world in Kuusamo, she says.

For more information, please contact:

CEO Ville Aho, Rukakeskus Ltd, Tel. +358 400 895 987,
General Manager Lea Riekki, Rantasipi Rukahovi, Tel. +358 40 750 4024,
Sales Director, Owner Marjo Määttä, Rukan Salonki, Tel. +358 40 564 0937, 
Manager Mats Lindfors, Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association, Tel +358 400 747 356,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ruka was merited once again in the Oscar Gala of the ski tourism industry



Ruka Ski Resort, Rantasipi Rukahovi and Rukan Salonki were awarded on Saturday 22 November at the World Ski Awards Gala organised by the World Travel Awards. For the second year in a row, Ruka Ski Resort was awarded as Finland’s Best Ski Resort in the best ski resort category. Rantasipi Rukahovi was voted as Finland’s Best Ski Hotel in the best ski hotel category. The World Ski Awards, organised for the first time last year, is a sister event of the internationally recognised World Travel Awards, described the Oscar Gala of the tourism industry. The World Ski Awards Gala was organised in Kitzbühel, Austria.

Ruka has been the pioneer for Finnish skiing for 60 years already, building a versatile and high-quality ski resort with a long-term vision. “Excellent snow conditions, a unique pedestrian village with its services right at the foot of the slopes, and the nature of Kuusamo that surrounds Ruka are our key strengths,” says Managing Director Ville Aho from Rukakeskus.

 “Personal service and versatile restaurant services are the cornerstone for Rukahovi’s operations, thus warm thanks for this award go the whole personnel. Furthermore, our cooperation with the versatile and popular Ruka Ski Resort has its role in the successful result,” says General Manager Lea Riekki from Rantasipi Rukahovi.

In addition to awarding Rukahovi with the title of Finland’s Best Ski Hotel, World Ski Awards acknowledged the hotel by ranking it among One of the Top 21 Worldwide Ski Hotels.
Ruka was also selected as the Ski Resort of the Year 2014 in Finland. “All Ruka personnel are proud and impressed by the awards. We are expecting a great ski season 2014–2015, which started at Ruka on 17 October and continues for more than 200 days until May,” Aho concludes.

Further information:
Managing Director Ville Aho, Rukakeskus Ltd, tel. +358 400 895 987,
General Manager, Lea Riekki, Rantasipi Rukahovi, tel. +358 40 750 4024,
Entrepreneur Marjo Määttä, Rukan Salonki, tel. +358 40 564 0937,,  Press photos:

Rukakeskus Ltd is a family company, which has been responsible for ski activities at Ruka since 1973 and at Pyhä since 1987. It is one of the leading tourism companies in Finland, and the market leader in the ski resort field by nearly 20 % share of ski lift ticket sales. The companies operate in the internationalising, year-round travel centres of Ruka and Pyhä. Our turnover is approximately EUR 22 million and we employ approximately 170 persons. 

Rantasipi hotel chain includes spa and conference hotels all over Finland. The conference and active programmes as well as pampering and spa experiences are suitable both for leisure and business travellers. Rantasipi hotels also provide versatile and variable additional services. The surrounding nature offers unique alternatives for outdoor activities

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Finnair boosts flights to Kuusamo

Finnair and the biggest tour operators in Lapland have agreed a three-year cooperation arrangement for flights to Lapland as well as cooperation in marketing. Finnair will significantly add to its Lapland flight schedule in November 2014 with the start of the winter traffic timetable season. Flights will be added especially from Helsinki to Kittilä, Ivalo and Kuusamo. Timetables have been drawn up to provide passengers with good connections between Lapland and European and Asian destinations via Helsinki.  

"The demand for traffic to northern Finland comes with the growth in tourism, and by offering more flights we want to offer to Finnish and international passengers  the possibility to experience the magic of Finnish Lapland," says Rolf Backman, responsible for Finnair's domestic sales. "Asian tourists represent a growing travel category and they have expressed an interest in the Northern Lights, for instance, as well as other Lapland experiences."

"We have been in regular conversation with local tour operators and we've been trying together to find solutions, with the help of which we can develop Lapland as a travel destination," Backman continues. "Cooperation helps us to optimize our traffic for the operating benefit of customers in Finland and those from elsewhere as well as for the whole travel chain. With the help of strong cooperation within that travel chain we can achieve even better sales of Finland as an interesting travel destination."

More detailed information about the flights and their schedules can be found on the Finnair web site at

More about travelling to Ruka and Kuusamo:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day Spa Ruka Green Pavilion is now open!

The day spa and art salon Ruka Green Pavilion – managed by Sanna Juga – opened its doors to visitors on 21 December. “It’s easy to come to the day spa either by skiing, driving a car or a snowmobile, or by simply walking on foot.  The day spa can be reached directly from the ground level, and visibility has a great deal of importance”, says the entrepreneur operating in the atmosphere of thematic interior of green art windows, not far from pedestrian tunnel of Ruka.   

Harmony of nature and pleasure for the eye
Ruka Green Pavilion is brought to Ruka ski resort directly from wild nature. In summer time Sanna Juga can offer treatments in the open air which again has established the idea and spirit of the day spa. “I want to bring summer and peculiarities of nature into the inside of the room. And everybody must himself/herself experience the individual way it happens. Nature and art has beauty in unity, which promotes wellbeing and is also pleasure for the eye. Natural landscape is a masterpiece and nature is often depicted in artistic works”, Sanna sums up. Ruka Green Pavilion offers massage, make-up, pampering, and also locally spirited Lapland natural stone and berry based treatments, to mention a few.   

Home visits and individually fitted service
“Inspite of opening the day spa, my "earlier brand marks" home visits and individually fitted service providing will carry on. Networking and collaboration means that additional resources of wellbeing professionals are available when needed. I am always looking forward to be contacted by professional massagers and spa treatment specialists who are interested in providing individually fitted services from time to time”, Sanna says and also assures: “this kind of work is never boring because scenery changes and you always meet captivating people”. “And sometimes you get pretty good tip, too”, the entrepreneur gives a wink.   

Ruka Green Pavilion
Wellbeing in the nature available during summer!