By Jennifer Popplewell •
Published: 04 Nov 2023 • 17:09
Organisers from Costalla, Tuukka and Jarmo
ONE of the things that makes the Costa Del Sol so unique and beautiful is its diversity. People of many different nationalities now call this Latin land their home, and spend their days under its blue skies, sipping sangria.
However, when one first moves here and leaves all that is familiar behind, it can feel quite daunting. Suddenly alone in a new country and culture, without home comforts and surrounded by a non native language, it is easy to become overwhelmed.
Costalla.fi is an organisation that is aimed at Finns moving, or with the idea to move, to the Costa Del Sol. They understand the importance of a familiar community in a foreign land and so have set up this travel service and online media to be a personal guide, and cover everything that those moving here might need.
On Saturday, November 4, Costalla.fi held their second annual business fair in Fuengirola, located at the Las Palmeras Hotel. The event was aimed at local Finnish businesses as an opportunity for them to network and showcase their services, as well as for local residents, from Finland and otherwise, to experience what is on offer in Fuengirola for them.
The event started at 10am and by 11.30am the business hall was already bustling with people. Euro Weekly News spoke to one of the organisers from Costalla.fi, Tuukka, who said that they were very happy with the turn out, explaining that it was more than last year and even hinted at bigger plans for the following fair in 2024. “We are thinking next year to make it even bigger”, he stated, before announcing that “this year the attendance looks to be around 1000 people, last year it was about 500”.
Many businesses occupied stands in the main hall, property adviser Anne Alice Saarikangas from Strand Properties spoke to Euro Weekly News and happily commented that they had already acquired various new clients for the agency in the few hours since the opening of the fair. “There is a strong Nordic influence in Fuengirola” she said, before adding that it was a “fantastic idea” to bring companies and clients together in this way. EWN also secured a fabulous tote bag from Strand Properties, complete with a super cute gold pen.
Finnish native Outi Savelius, who has been visiting the Costa Del Sol for many years, attended the event in order to see what local services were on offer. Outi told Euro Weekly News that she has plans to move to Fuengirola, and although she explained that she does speak English and Spanish she also admitted, “sometimes it is just nice to speak in Finnish. People from Finland are very good at adapting to other cultures, but to know that there are businesses in the area where I can speak my native language, that is nice”.
The history of Finnish people in Fuengirola dates back to the 1960’s, when a small group of Finland natives moved here, which resulted in many others following suit. Soon there was a large community that steadily kept growing, now in 2023 Fuengirola hosts one of the biggest communities of Finnish people that are outside Finland in the entire world.
The fair also included many speeches that were held on stage at the front of the hall. A spokesperson for each business at the event delivered information on services and products that are available with them. Health expert Katri Uotila, who is a Neurofix therapist and chairman of the innovative wellbeing clinic Avain Terveyteen in Fuengirola, gave an informative speech with helpful advice, formulas and speciality services that can help people with a range of health issues.
Euro Weekly News spoke with Niina from Sauna Mijas, who said that it was their first time having a stand at the event. “I am pleasantly surprised with the number of people here”, she stated, before predicting that they would almost certainly come again next year.
There were even a few famous faces to be spotted! Actor, Jethro Rostedt, born in Turku, who is a well known TV personality and game show host, was present at the fair promoting his bar/nightclub, Culture. He happily posed for photos alongside a lovely lady in a nurse outfit, who Euro Weekly News can only assume was the appointed first aid assistant for the event. Safety first!
The fair ended at 5pm after seeing a record number of attendees at the event. All left in good spirits, with goodie bags in hand and many new contacts in their phonebook!
A success all round for the connection company Costalla, and as the Finnish community continues to grow under the Fuengirola sun, all are left to await what the fair will bring next year!
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Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.
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