Tourism Development Gateway between Northeast Finl.. (Tourism Development ..)
Tourism Development Gateway between Northeast Finland and Northwest Russia
Start date: Apr 30, 2002,
End date: Apr 29, 2005
The opening of the Suoperä–Kuusamo border-crossing point was seen as creating new opportunities in the already well-established cooperation between Koillismaa and Louhi regions in, for example, border area tourism. Th e goal of the project was to develop business activities related to tourism from Northwest Finland to Russia and to combine the tourism strategies of the regions and use them as a foundation for a mutual tourism development strategy. An additional goal was to initiate development processes between the diff erent counterparts related to tourism so that they could create a foundation for travel business that could be implemented on both sides of the border. Th e goal was to develop operations in the following areas: improving expertise, utilising information technology in business activities, improving the tourism infrastructure, motivating stakeholders, communication and marketing. Achievements: A local tourism strategy was created between regions of Koillismaa and Louhi in the project to be utilised in the shared tourism development functions of the regions. A tourism seminar was held at Pyaozersky. Organising shared and company-specifi c language, culture and regional knowledge training also improved expertise. Companies and officials from Koillismaa participated in the training. The significance of the Russian language for operations across the border and for serving Russian tourists was emphasised. Russian cooperative counterparts participated to the extent possible within the regulatory framework. In addition, safety training was provided in order to create shared operational procedures. This type of training was relatively unknown in Russia. A safety plan, which addresses operations in Karelia, particularly in the Louhi region, was also created together with the companies. Awareness of the region was actively increased and there was a positive impact on the tourism image of the activity area during the project. Numerous new counterparts were connected with tourism functions through the project. Although it will take time for the results to translate into more jobs or increased turnover, based on the experiences of the companies the project had a positive financial effect on operations. The visitor volumes to the local area grew during the project, although the number of visitors remained limited upon conclusion of the project. Tourists from third countries were later expected to be a new distinct target group for the regions tourism. Tourism services in the Louhi region were successfully strengthened and diversified within the framework of the project, and tourism in the region was substantially developed. The feedback received from the trial trips implemented during the project was mainly positive. Similarly, cooperation and teamwork between Finnish and Karelian programme service companies has increased in practice. Utilising and implementing the local tourism strategy in practice as a basic travel industry tool between the regions was continued in the Product Creation for Marketing Valkeatie Tourism project.
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