Events and meetings can help reduce seasonality in the hospitality sector. Meetings and events industry was promoted in Savonlinna through a dedicated project.

One of the policy changes achieved through Local Flavours was a project aiming to improve the attractiveness of the city of Savonlinna (FI) by enhancing the prerequisites for events and meetings to pull new visitor groups to the area. The project “Events and meetings as drivers of tourism growth in Savonlinna” received funding from ERDF through the Regional Council of South Savo in spring 2021 and it will finish at the end of December 2022.

The goal of the project was to develop the events industry by focusing actions in capacity building and competencies as well as the improvement of the infrastructure of facilities (e.g. venues and conference spaces) and collaboration platforms. In addition, the project has advanced the dialogue of businesses and entrepreneurs towards an event-friendly city image and the actualisation of the year-round tourism goals as set in the city’s strategy.

The implemented actions include:

- training

- coaching of individual businesses

- regional sales and marketing

- development of event and sales concepts

- creation of websites for professionals / e-sales and marketing platforms

- visitor research and tourism effectivity benchmarking

During the project, regional businesses have had a chance to network with national experts, and corporate visits have been conducted bidirectionally. New business has been created (event venue House of Olaf) alongside new event concepts (Musta Norppa Festival). The project built on the strong cultural brand of Savonlinna, based on the world-famous annual Savonlinna Opera Festival attracting annually in July circa 60 000 visitors to the city. Instead of high-season, the project focused on building cultural attractions for the weaker seasons with attractive high-quality offer which attract visitors and encourage tourism enterprises to build new cultural tourism products.

Photo: Savonlinnan kaupunki (City of Savonlinna)