St.Petersburg – Saimaa Lakeland Travel Corridor
01.01.2019 – 31.12.2021
Benefits for businesses
- Increasing the use of existing tourism infrastructure, especially outside the peak seasons
- Promoting/stimulating entrepreneurship
- Boosting and diversifying tourism demand to new target groups
- Developing and expanding existing tourism destinations
The target is to increase the utilization rate of tourism services in the region and create new business opportunities for tourism service providers. The project aims also to equip service providers with better skills and products for new customer groups and nationalities, especially combining city holidays and nature holidays in lake surroundings to one trip is a good way to meet customer expectations of comprehensive experience of the destination.
During the project, a cross-border cluster of tourism service providers with shared brand will be set up. It will combine two, completely different attractive and popular tourism destinations, Saint Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast, Russia and Saimaa Lakeland region in Finland, in a new way that appeals to new customer segments.
First, the project finds out the potential tourist segments and suitable marketing and distribution channels for these segments, resolving travel related logistic problems as well as combining existing and new tourism products into high-quality attractive test product sets according to chosen client profiles. The test sets will be used for demonstrating the different features of the corridor product in order to persuade tourist groups spend more time in the region.
During the project marketing strategies, distribution channels and tourism products of destination marketing organization and tourism enterprises in the area will be updated and reformed. The activities will cover introducing relevant businesses with each other to realize the services and creating an information platform for products, services and logistics.
A new structure for regional SME’s support – a brand cluster – will be created in order to provide entrepreneurs with the necessary information for business development and creation of new products.
St. Petersburg – Saimaa Lakeland travel corridor is a cross-border project where the lead partner is Savonlinnan Hankekehitys Oy (Savonlinna Development Services) and the other project partners are Saint Petersburg City Tourist Information Bureau, City of Lappeenranta, Imatra Region Development Company Ltd., Mikkeli Development Miksei Ltd and Information tourist centre of Leningrad Region.
Total budget of the project is 838 037 euros and the project is funded by The South-East Finland – Russia CBC 2014-2020 programme (80%) and co-financed by the project partners.
During the project, co-operation has taken place in tourism marketing, product development and sales. The St. Petersburg – Saimaa Lakeland Travel Corridor project has increased the awareness of both tour operators and tourists about the possibility of connecting these destinations in cross-border tourism. The common brand highlights the region’s special culture, traditions, events and way of life on the Finnish-Russian border. New tourists to St. Petersburg and Lake Saimaa region are especially attracted from Central Europe.
The closeness of St. Petersburg and the free electronic visa, e-visa, are a major attraction to the Lake Saimaa region in the European tourism market. The St. Petersburg – Saimaa Lakeland Travel Corridor project has contributed to the concrete utilization of an important distinguishing factor for the Saimaa region.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought its own challenges to actions of the project. For example, FAM trips for tour operators and media have been organized in hybrid format, because the borders have been closed. Nevertheless, the region has gained visibility in international travel magazines, such as National Geographic (UK and Dutch versions) and Nordis. It has been presented for media and tour operators in workshops and events both on- and offline in Europe, USA and Asia.
As a result of the project, e.g. a product manual for international tour operators, a joint brochure, travel packages tailored for Europeans with tour operators, various experience products, videos, a virtual tour of Imatrankoski, a common map, information boards for the Leningrad Region and a common aggregation website (travelcorridor.info) were created. The travel packages created during the project (Voigt Travel, Fintouring, Saimaa Travel) are on sale for next year’s summer season.
The cooperation will continue after the project. Materials of the project events can be found below. More information about travel possibilities for tour operators, other tourism professionals and individual travels can be found in website TRAVELCORRIDOR.INFO.
Outputs and project materials
- Marketing survey
- Brochures and maps
- Project brochure 2020 (EN)
- Project brochure 2021 (EN)
- Project brochure 2021 (FI)
- Project brochure 2021 (RUS)
- Project brochure 2021 (DE)
- Destination manual (incl. logistics information)
- FAM trips for media and tour operators
- Benchmarking trip reports
- product development for international travel groups
- digital visibility
- training for guides
- Workshops and networking for media and tourism businesses
- Travel packages and new travel products
- Virtual tour of Imatrankoski and videos
- Podcast series “Ajatuskuplia Saimaalta”
- Visibility in national and international media
- Website TRAVELCORRIDOR.INFO
Networking event by Lappeenranta 06.05.2021
- Mirka Rahman, City of Lappeenranta – Project presentation
- Päivi Aaltonen, City of Lappeenranta – Presentation of Lappeenranta
- Suvi Ahola, Nordic Marketing
- Suvi Laine, Saimaa Travel
Networking event by Mikkeli 08.06.2021
Networking event by Leningrad Region 22.10.2021
Networking event by St. Petersburg 10.11.2021
Networking event by Imatra 29.11.2021
Presentations (in Finnish)
- Susanna Peura, Savonlinna Development Services Ltd. – Project presentation
- Juha Sorjonen, Avidly – Travel Corridor x Yrityksen digitaalinen näkyvyys ja ostettavuus
Networking events by Savonlinna 4.–5. and 18.11.2021
Savonlinna’s networking events consisted of three productization workshops for travel businesses around Lake Saimaa. The new products developed in the workshops are presented in brochures which can be downloaded from here.
Closing seminar in Savonlinna 16.12.2021
Savonlinnan Hankekehitys Oy
Savonlinnan Seudun Matkailu Oy