Tourism has lately been developing actively in the Republic of Karelia. The region is a national leader in terms of tourist appeal. The republic attracts nature-lovers, pursuers of active, ecological, fishing and hunting tourism. The City of Petrozavodsk is the region’s economic centre, where many small- and medium-size enterprises are based. Some 20% of the republic’s hotel businesses and 70% of its tourist firms are situated in Petrozavodsk.
Some conclusions regarding the current situation in the tourism sector were drawn from questionnaire surveys of people working the sector. Although there are no doubt the conditions and premises for tourism development do exist in Petrozavodsk, a number of serious difficulties and challenges have been identified. One of them – the absence of the Strategy for tourism development in the city – has been a major hindrance to successful development of the sector (proving the high relevance of the action).
Hence, of the key tasks for the project “Contemporary Old City: Enhancing cultural tourism across the border” (КА366) has been the preparation of the Strategy for Tourism Development in Petrozavodsk.
The objective of the Strategy has been defined as ‘capacity-building to promote the tourist appeal of Petrozavodsk as tourism, recreation and business centre of international significance’. In turn, the objective of developing tourism in the city is integrated development of the tourism and related sectors of the economy as a factor for the investment attractiveness of Petrozavodsk, turning tourism into a sector in which the city specializes in external markets and into a weighty source of income for the city.
The development process of the Strategy was made up of several stages:
- Analysis of the tourist market development
- Assessment of the competitiveness of tourist products
- Identifying existing institutional and economic problems
- Benchmarking international experience in urban tourism development
- Survey (tourist companies).
- “Focus group” studies.
- Remote questionnaires
- Personal questionnaires
- Processing interview results
- Processing questionnaire results
- Working out the strategy
The key stages of the Strategy development process, the structure and tenets of the Strategy are reported in the presentation. The priority types of tourism suggest that efforts and resources shall be targeted to those areas and activities where the city is most competitive and those that can yield the greatest socio-economic effect.
In the process of working on the Strategy a specific mechanism for filling the strategy with activities and projects relying on available resources and existing terms and frames for implementing certain projects was suggested. Marketing of the Strategy and reach-out to external tourist markets will ensure a steady implementation of the Strategy.
Karelian Research Centre
of the Russian Academy Of Sciences