Karelias meet – Ilomantsi–Tuupovaara Sub-region Nature Tourism Development Project
Start date: Dec 31, 2001,
End date: Feb 27, 2005
Karelias meet was a sub-regional project which was intended to secure jobs in nature and culture tourism in the Ilomantsi–Tuupovaara area and to create a strong foundation for the growth and development of the industry. Th e essential goal of the project was to standardise cooperation between tourism entrepreneurs and diff erent stakeholders in the sub-region and the Republic of Karelia by engaging in close cooperation with entrepreneurs. Th e intention of the project was to implement a diverse training and consulting segment which would be used to create company networks that would ensure regional development in the future. Th e goals also included improving the quality of tourism products, developing tourism products based on the exotic nature of Karelia and the border in cooperation with Russians and sharpening the tourism image of the area. All these actions were intended to increase the volume of customer-oriented business activity and tourism. Achievements: The project was used to create cooperative relationships with the officials of the Suojrvi region, Tolvajrvi company, tourism companies in Suojrvi and the Petrozavodsk National Heritage Centre. Nine new tourism products were created during the project for implementation in Russian Karelia and in Ilomantsi and Tuupovaara. The tourism products developed included a Mimmit moottoreilla snowmobile excursion for women from Niirala to the centre of Suojrvi, a rowing and hiking excursion at Lake Tolvajrvi and a winter fishing package at Lake Koitere. Tourism from Russia to Ilomantsi and Tuupovaara was promoted by organising a seminar and educational trips to the area for travel agencies from St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk. The project also participated in several domestic and international sales events, trade fairs and marketing events. During the project, marketing material for the developed tourism packages was produced in Finnish and Russian. In addition, 17 companies from the Ilomantsi and Tuupovaara regions were included in the Russian-language version of the North Karelia brochure. Programme service, quality, sales, marketing, information technology, language, catering and travel guide training was organised for companies in the training segment of the project. Ten separate events were included in the programme service training. Ideas were created, and then six new programme service products were created based on these ideas (for example, Love Spells, Karelian Wedding on Lake Ontajrvi and Nuottasopora at Lake Nuorajrvi tailored for businesses). The travel guide course was a one-year course consisting of 126 hours of training. Ilomantsi received nine new travel guides as a result of the training. The quality training was organised by Proagria. The sales and marketing training was off ered attourism industry legislation, sales and marketing, and travel agency operations in Russia events. Issues related to meal planning, preparation and display were covered during the catering training. An educational trip to New Valamo was also part of the training. The project also arranged educational trips with other themes both domestically and in Russian Karelia.
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