Kiiminkijoki Nature Travel Network
Start date: Jun 30, 2004,
End date: Feb 27, 2005
Russians enjoy fishing. Fishing groups arriving from across the border have mainly visited Southern Finland in previous years, however, and there has not been a lot of faith in the Kiiminkijoki entrepreneurs ability to produce high-quality services even within the region. The project was to implement a basic and market study of the planned fishing-travel network. In this study, the current state of fishing destinations on the Kiiminkijoki River was to be assessed along with the weaknesses, strengths and opportunities in terms of the Russian market. Similarly, the goal was to assess the capacity, experiences and interest of the entrepreneurs of the area regarding Russian customers and to encourage them to package and market products for Russia through cooperation. A further intention was to commit the tourism entrepreneurs to a multi-year fishing tourism project that would cross regional borders and have Russia as its main marketing focus. Tourism companies along the Kiiminkijoki River and its nearby areas, Kainuu and Simojoki, participated in the project. Achievements: The project was completed as planned. The market study included assessing the nature travel market mainly in Russia, in particular in the St. Petersburg and Karelia regions, and creating contacts with potential partners for cooperation. The same type of assessment work was completed on the Finnish side of the border regarding tourism entrepreneurs that offer services to Russia. New marketing channels for both Russian and Finnish fishing travellers were created during the project. An operational network linking entrepreneurs and other tourism counterparts was created during the project. The project contributed to the strengthening of the independent local-area cooperation between network participants. The operational prerequisites for fishing tourism have improved in the area due to better contact being maintained and through practical cooperation. Constant feedback from visitors is received through email@example.com regarding, for example, the water quality, fish stocks, and services. Kiiminkijoki ry charges its members a membership fee, which is used to cover shared marketing expenses when no projects are underway. During the project, nature experience programme products were created and marketed; a brochure template that enabled collective marketing for Kiiminkijoki entrepreneurs was created; brochures were made in both Finnish and Russian; the www.kiiminkijoki.fi website was updated; additional internet visibility was obtained; and a website for Kiiminkijoki river was created in Russian. Through the project, the Oulu region and Kiiminkijoki River were also included in the foreign-language Finnish Tourist Board Fishing in Finland brochures. A weeklong trial group visit to Kiiminkijoki River by Russian tourists was also completed during the project. The group travelled from the river source in the downstream direction, visiting destinations near the river along the way. The feedback from the guests, which was also passed on to the entrepreneurs, was mainly positive. The trial visit resulted in a quotation request, and some travel destinations were also included in Intourist Petrozavodsks marketing efforts; however, the number of Russian tourists visiting the area following the project has not been monitored. A plan for a shared regional fishing tourism project was developed collaboratively during the project. Subsequently, funding has been sought for the new marketing and product-creation plan.
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