Implementation of the complex system of state regulation of tourist activity in the territory of the republic developed by the Government of the Republic of Karelia is a basis for steady development of the sphere of tourism.
The key mechanism of system of the state support of development of tourism is performance of republican target programs on development of tourism. Annual execution of all planned program actions allows to increase contribution of tourism into economics of the republic consistently, including due to creation of new workplaces, increase in tax revenues in the territorial budget, preservation and rational use of cultural and natural heritage of Karelia.
The major result of the work done is significant activization of private investing into objects of tourist infrastructure. The volume of investments into construction of new and reconstruction of existing group accommodation facilities has increased from 130 million rbl. in 2001 to 440 million rbl. in 2005 (3.4 times). At that, intensive development of the infrastructure was accompanied with development of tourism in all cities and districts of the republic, traditionallty considered as objects of the increased tourist interest.
The following investment projects are related to the number of the most significant implemented within the period from 2002 to 2005:
- in Petrozavodsk these are reconstruction Karelia tourist complex and Neva hotel, commissioning of Prionezhsky and Metro club hotels, Byeliye Nochi and Onego hotels;
- in the central area and Zaonezhie these are reconstruction of Kivach sanatorium and Kalevala country hotel, construction of a tourist and improving complex Dvortsy in the Spa Marcial Waters, Derevnya Aleksandrovka country hotel complex on the coast of Pertozero lake, the first turn of the scientific and exposition complex Thematic Park Karelia in Pryazha district;
- in Karelian coast of the White sea these are construction of Kuzova hotel complex and expansion of Prichal tourist complex (Kem), Brandvakhta floating hotel (Byelomorsk);
- in the north and northwest of the republic these are construction of tourist complexes of cottage type on Paanajärvi and in the settlement of Kalevala, construction of Velt hotel and reconstruction of Sampo hotel in the settlement of Kalevala;
- in Northern Ladoga lakeside these are commissioning of Gardarika tourist complex on the coast of Janisjärvi lake, Kaunis and Volna hotels in Sortavala, reconstruction of Winter's summer residence in Sortavala and construction of small tourist houses on its territory, arrangement of Koznsaari island in Lahdenpohja district for construction of a tourist center on its territory.
The largest of the implemented investment projects in the field of tourism infrastructure in the RK is construction of Cherniye Kamni hotel-tourist complex on the lake of Jänisjärvi (more than 150 million rbl. of funds obtained). Since 2005 there construction of a four-star hotel complex Onego Palace is begun in Petrozavodsk for which it is planned to attract about $20 million.
International cooperation in the sphere of tourism develops. In total from 2002 to 2005 there have been launched and implemented 13 international projects with the total budget of €5,2 million directed on lunching a network of small projects and development of tourism in the entire territory of the republic that has allowed to involve 15 of 18 cities and districts of the Republic of Karelia in cooperation.
The republic participates in the inter-regional cooperation in the field of tourism. Since 2003 Karelia is one of the most active members of Coordination Council Regions of Russia - Moscow Agreement, that essentially increases opportunities of the republic in advertising, publishing and exhibition promotion of its tourist potential, promotes occurrence of new sources of investment. In September of 2005 the Xth anniversary session of the Council took place in Petrozavodsk.
The geography of exhibition and fair activity in the sphere of tourism has extended considerably. In recent years Karelia has perticipated in the largest tourist forums in Berlin (ITB) and London (WTM), it annually participates in exhibitions and fairs in Helsinki (MATKA), Moscow (MITT, MITF), St.-Petersburg (INWETEX). In 2005 the quantity of exhibition and fair actions where the tourist potential of the Republic of Karelia and products of tour agencies of the RK have been presented has reached 14. Specialized exhibitions Karelia the Tourist and Hunting and Fishing held in Petrozavodsk have become traditional.
When the first in the Russian North Information Tourist Center of the Republic of Karelia opened in 2002, development of tourism in the republic has received a good impulse. Opening of the Center and a tourist Internet portal has allowed to raise information availability of Karelia as of a tourist region considerably. Work on creation of a network of city and regional tourist centers is carried out.
With the purpose of stimulation of business activity of organizations and independent businessmen accomplishing tourist activity in the territory of the republic, a republican competition Leaders of Karelian Tourist Industry is held since 2002, in 2005 its results were brought on eight nominations. The great attention was paid to preparation of tourist and excursion personnel: the multilevel system of continuous tourist education is created in the republic. In eight establishments of the republic training experts in the sphere of tourism at the level additional, specialized secondary and higher education, more than 1300 people have either graduated or continue their education.
Implementation of the listed measures resulted in annual growth of all quantity indicators used at monitoring of development of tourism in the republic.
The number of organizations and independent businessmen possessing licenses of tourist operators and agents on January 1, 2006 has made 147 people (101 on January 1, 2002). More than 90 of them develop entrance tourism in the Republic of Karelia as a priority of their activity.
The total number of visitors of the republic, on estimated data, in 2005 has exceeded 1,6 million people (1,35 million people in 2001). At that 410 thousand people of them, or 25 %, are organized tourists (270 thousand people, or 20%, in 2001).
The number of tourists visiting the main tourist objects of the republic has increased considerably. Kizhi open-air museum has been visited in 2005 by 167 thousand people (122 thousand people in 2001). The number of tourists and pilgrims to the islands of Valaam archipelago in 2005 has reached of the level in 95 thousand visitors (69 thousand visitors in 2001). In 2005 Kivach reserve received 53 thousand people (30 thousand people in 2001).
Growth of tourist and business appeal of the Republic of Karelia is also characterized by volume of services of hotel establishments which for the period from 2002 to 2005 has increased by 62% in the comparable prices.