Creating Incentive Travel as a Product for Russian.. (Creating Incentive T..)
Creating Incentive Travel as a Product for Russian Tourists
Start date: Dec 31, 2001,
End date: Dec 30, 2004
Karelia Region for 2006’ programme. Th e starting point of the project was to support growth-oriented rural tourism companies through product development and marketing, with a view to tourism marketing for Russia. Th e essential activities of the project would be establishing new tourism products (incentive products) and marketing and sales of existing rural tourism products to Russia, further developing the rental system for cabins, and increasing the quality of cabins to meet the needs and demands of Russian tourists. Th e quantitative goals of the project included increasing tourism revenues, increasing the number of Russian overnight stays and lengthening the travel season to accommodate Russian tourists. Achievements: The project arranged sales and marketing training, language and culture training as well as quality training for entrepreneurs. Four of the 10 companies that participated in the quality training (Pikkukili, Erpaimen, Korintti and Kestikievari Herranniemi) were later awarded the Best in Region title. The cooperative partner network was expanded in Russia: The North Karelia Club network was expanded with three travel agencies from Petrozavodsk, two from Moscow (also with offices in St. Petersburg), and two from St. Petersburg. A video recorded by the director of a Russian travel agency about North Karelia winter activities at Koli, Vuonislahti, Heinvesi and Joensuu was broadcast on television in St. Petersburg, attracting one-and-a-half million viewers. Seven fishing related travel package products suitable for marketing and sales were created during the project. The knowledge of the Russian market obtained earlier was utilised in creating these products; fishing was of interest to Russians during all seasons. The product brochures regarding fishing packages were translated into Russian for the Russian market. The project also attempted to create an Incentive, in other words a reward travel product that could be used by companies to motivate their employees and customers to achieve exceptional results. The aforementioned definition regarding the nature of incentive travel was not completely fulfilled in the project; however, a few of the large travel agencies from the expanded Russian cooperative network included the incentive travel packages directed at companies in their product selections. The actual effect of the project on turnover growth for rural tourism companies was difficult to measure accurately, as the majority of Russians stayed in cabins, which are not included in official tourism statistics. The project did, however, reinforce the connections of North Karelians to Russian travel agencies; therefore, awareness of North Karelia in Russia was increased. Similarly, the project increased the entrepreneurs knowledge of Russia and Russians in the North Karelian travel industry, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of the region. As Russians are clearly the largest group of foreign tourists, it will be important to engage in travel-related development in the future as well to ensure that the region maintains its position as a growing travel destination for Russians.
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