The Saimaa Tourism Competitiveness and Renewal through Culinary Experiences and Networks (SAKU) -HANKE
goSaimaa Oy (2291705-5) manages and implements the project The Saimaa Tourism Competitiveness and Renewal through Culinary Experiences and Networks (SAKU) (A78745, EAKR) 1.6.2022-30.11.2023.
The aim of the project is to help tourism entrepreneurs in the Saimaa region to find ways to overcome the current market turbulence and to develop their operating methods and tourism packages. The food tourism offer will help to strengthen the visibility of tourism in the region and develop it into a year-round activity. The development of networks of service businesses in the region, based on quality criteria, is needed in terms of productisation, marketing and promoting the development of a digital service pathway. The project will provide excellent support for the sustainable development objectives of food tourism businesses. The project measures will help to strengthen an inter-business network approach in the Saimaa region, focusing on sustainable, year-round promotion of food tourism. The project will develop the sustainability of businesses and create a competitive advantage through food tourism products and services.
The Saimaa Tourism Competitiveness and Renewal through Culinary Experiences and Networks (SAKU) project supports SMEs to renew the region's service offerings and develop digital skills to respond to challenging market changes with new networks. South Karelia's tourism sector is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine. The region's business structure and priorities are changing rapidly. The tourism operators in the Lappeenranta and Imatra region must react quickly to this change and find substitute target groups, in particular by developing and renewing their service offerings, by producing new experiential service packages in cooperation with other operators in the region and by making their products easy to find and buy. The regions of Saimaa, South Karelia, South Savo and North Karelia are applying for the European Gastronomic Region status for 2024. The network built around South Karelia's gastronomy strongly supports the development of food tourism in the region. Development work will focus strongly on strengthening the skills of entrepreneurs and introducing digital tools.
The development of food tourism in South Karelia will be taken forward in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and using the methods of the Sustainable Tourism Finland programme. Sustainable food tourism is ane of the priorities of Finland's tourism strategy and Visit Finland has developed a sustainable food tourism development guide for entrepreneurs and regional organisations to ensure the development of sustainable products, services and methods. The food tourism products developed in the project will help to promote year-round tourism in the region. An important criterion for the project is that the Saimaa region is promoted as a clean and peaceful authentic Finnish holiday destination, aisa through gastronomic experiences. ln a turbulent market, the region needs to re-profile itself and find new USPs (unique sales proposition) for both domestic and international tourism. According to a study by Bloom Consulting (2021 ), the covid-19 pandemic is slowing down the recovery of distant markets and Finnish tourism should focus on promoting both domestic and European markets.
The region's competitiveness should be strengthened as a major international and national food tourism destination. Market research and customer potential analyses will be carried out to support the right choice of new markets. The project will aisa strongly support the use of digital tools by entrepreneurs in their daily activities and strengthen the common brand of the region by requiring all entrepreneurs to enhance their own communication using existing digital marketing communication tools. The project will strengthen international sales channels and European food networks. An important objective of the project is to support the networking of entrepreneurs in the region and the development of business ecosystems through food tourism networks, co-development and the development of market knowledge and export pathways. The main themes of Finnish food tourism - food culture, purity, closeness to nature - should be more strongly integrated not only in food innovation and product development, but aisa in tourism marketing communication for the region and entrepreneurs. The aim of the project is to help tourism entrepreneurs in the Saimaa region to find ways to survive, develop their practices and develop their tourism packages in the current market turbulence. The food tourism offer will strengthen the visibility of tourism in the region and develop tourism as a year-round activity. Networks of service businesses in the region must be developed on the basis of quality criteria in terms of productisation, marketing and promotion of the development of a digital service path. The project will provide excellent support for the sustainable development objectives of food tourism businesses.
The project's measures will strengthen the networking approach between businesses in the Saimaa region, focusing on the sustainable, year-round promotion of food tourism. The project will develop the sustainability of businesses and create a competitive advantage through food tourism products and services. The networking of businesses will aisa help to create trans-regional chains of activities that will allow tourists to stay longer in the region, thus reducing the carbon footprint of tourism while increasing the region's tourism revenues. The project will be implemented in close cooperation with actors in South Savo through co-development and mutual learning. The main outcomes of the project will be a strong gastronomy network in the Saimaa region, new digitally shoppable tourism products. The Saimaa region will become better known as a clean, nature-oriented food tourism and holiday destination.
The aim of the project is to encourage companies to promote usage of local products and products originated in Saimaan region in the spirit of D.O. Saimaa origin mark by companies in South Karelia and to strengthen the tourism and gastronomic awareness of the Saimaa region. The project will be implemented in close cooperation with stakeholders in South Savo and North Karelia, through co-development and learning from each other. The project will strengthen local cooperation, for instance with educational institutions and between projects. The SAKU project will be implemented in close cooperation with the Food Region Now! project, especially in the areas of business cooperation and product development. The project is in line with both the tourism strategies of the Saimaa region and Finland and takes strong account of gender equality, equality and equity, as tourism is a female-dominated sector, but aisa a sector that brings together different groups of people and age groups, which can create new competitiveness and vitality for the region by developing in a responsible and sustainable way.
goSaimaa Oy's SAKU project is implemented in cooperation with the South Karelia Regional Council. The funding has been granted by the Uusimaa Regional Council (ERDF).
Sustainable Growth and Jobs 2014-2020
Finnish Structural Funds Programme
8. REACT-EU ERDF measures
12.1 Strengthening SMEs, in particular in the context of digitalisation and the green economy
goSaimaa Oy:n SAKU -hanke, A78745, EAKR, rahoitetaan osana Euroopan unionin covid-19-pandemian johdosta toteuttamia toimia (REACT-EU).