Overcoming of negative consequences of the crisis phenomena that have caused sharp decrease in the number of visits of the republic in 2009 continued in the sphere of tourism. Physical volumes of the basic parameters describing development of the branch gradually approach the level of the peak values achieved in 2008.
The basic directions of activity of the Government of the Republic of Karelia were organization, support and stimulation of development of tourism infrastructure in the republic.
In order to fulfill assignments of the President of the Russian Federation the Government of the Republic of Karelia worked on creation of a tourist and recreation claster based on the project of Spiritual Transformation of the Russian North, development of documentation on creation of the tourist and recreation special economic zone in the republic was conducted.
The project of Spiritual Transformation of the Russian North was presented at the session of the Commission for definition of priority projects of the All-Russia political party United Russia (on August 9, Moscow), at the inter-regional conference of the All-Russia political party United Russia (September 4-5, Cherepovets), the X International Investment forum Sochi - 2011 (September, 16) and International business-forum Russia-Slovenia (in absentia, on September, 22, Maribor), Karelian international forum Investments in the Future (November 24-25, Petrozavodsk).
Documentation on the project of Spiritual Transformation of the Russian North was submitted to the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy of the Russian Federation. The federal ministries have confirmed their readiness to consider inclusion of the project in the list of activities corresponding to the target program strategic documents (federal target program of Development of Domestic and Inbound Tourism in the Russian Federation (2011-2018), the Strategy of Social and Economic Development of the Northwest Federal District through to 2020) on conclusion of preparation of the corresponding application. The necessary package of documents on this issue was supposed to be formed by August, 2012.
In development of tourism infrastructure in 2011 it had been invested 510 million roubles of extra-budgetary resources, that is 6.3% more, than in 2010. Construction and reconstruction of objects of the tourist sphere were carried out both in the capital of the republic (running of Onego Palace hotel complex at full capacity, commissioning of the economy class hotel (hostel) Petrozavodsk, continuation of construction of a hotel complex on Gagarin square), and in regions of Karelia.
The new recreation center Shishki (Kondopoga metropolitan region) became a winner of the traditional annual competition Leaders of Karelian Tourist Industry as The Project of the Year. Development of a unique diving center The Polar Circle at the coast of the White Sea (Louhi metropolitan area) which works actively not only in summer, but also during the low tourist season proceeds. Since the previous season tourists started to travel to The Windy Belt recreation center (Segezha metropolitan area). The tourism infrastructure in Sortavala, Pryazha and Medvezhyegorsk municipal regions is traditionally developing actively.
As a result of implementation of investment projects in the sphere of tourism within 2011 it had been created more than 120 additional jobs.
The practice of active promotion of the tourist potential and tourist offers of the republic through participation in key international tourist exhibitions continued. In 2011 the republic took part in six exhibitions (Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Berlin). Displays of winners of the annual competition of the republic have been presented traditionally free-of-charge at the 45 m 2 exhibition stand purchased at the expense of the budget of the Republic of Karelia at the major tourist exhibition INTOURMARKET (Moscow, March).
In the sphere of professional training for the tourist branch of the republic and involving inhabitants of metropolitan formations of Karelia in tourist activity the Government of the Republic of Karelia continued the approved practice of organization of training seminars in regions of the republic. In 2011 seminars took place in Pitkäranta and Medvezhyegorsk. The accent in training was made on introduction in the fundamentals of tourist industry, exchange of experience with entrepreneurs in the sphere of tourism, explanation of mechanisms of organization of own business, principles and regulations of business-planning.
Work within the scope of the Committee on tourism of the Northwest Association where the Republic of Karelia is in the chair continued. During the round table discussion on the subject of Investment Prospects of Regions of the Northwest Federal District in the Sphere of Tourism at the Ist the Karelian international forum Investments in the Future the regular session of the Committee on tourism of the Northwest Association took place on November, 24 where decisions on joint activities and legislative initiatives in the sphere of boating were made.
A memorandum between the Ministry of the Republic of Karelia of Youth Affairs, Physical Training, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry on of Youth Affairs, Sports and Tourism of Arkhangelsk region on cooperation within the scope of implementation of the project of Spiritual Transformation of the Russian North initiated by the Government of the Republic of Karelia, supported by President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev and blessed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was signed.
Cooperation with regions of Eastern and Northern Finland in the sphere of tourism proceeded. Within the scope of the second phase of Karelia European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) program of cross-border cooperation financing of 13 international projects in sphere of tourism to be implemented within the territory of the Republic of Karelia was approved.
Together with the regional management of the administrative district of Northern Finland, the State Committee of the Republic of Karelia for Life Support and Public Safety, The Rescue Service of the Republic of Karelia SE the joint maneuvers directed on safety of tourist activity took place in Kuusamo (March, 2011) and on Shuya river (June, 2011).
Within the year the Government of the Republic of Karelia worked a lot on creation of a basis for increase of information availability of Karelia as one of the leaders among tourist destinations. With support of the budget of the Republic of Karelia technical equipment and software for opening one of the first in the Russian Federation call-centers for tourists were purchased. Occurrence of the call-center will form a basis for achievement of modern international standards regarding information and organizational maintenance of stay of tourists within the territory of the Republic of Karelia that will promote solution of the key problem of increase in tourist flows in the republic.