Since 2014, the city of Savonlinna has been diligently working to network in Beijing. Cooperation with Haidian district has made operating in Beijing easier, and has established reliable working relationships. In spring 2019, actors in Beijing seem to have taken a keen interest in Savonlinna health tourism, which has growing demand in the Chinese travel markets.
Savonlinna, like many other small Finnish cities, must seek new sources of growth by developing and utilizing international contacts. The city of Savonlinna has many strong, growing companies in the technology and wood processing industries, a fiber laboratory riding the wave of bio-economy, and a strong position as the center travel within the Saimaa and Eastern Finland region. For Savonlinna, cooperation with Haidian district has been remarkable and the current party secretary of Haidian district Yu Jun has been the central driving figure in this process. Our mutual cooperation has begun pacely, and gained success in the fields of education, innovation, and company networking. Last January, party secretary Yu Jun told Savonlinna mayor Janne Laine that of all the international connections with Haidian district, cooperation with the city of Savonlinna has been the most concrete and fruitful.
The burning question with the travel and marketing activities of Saimaa is: what will be the role of the Chinese travelers? It’s said that Saimaa should not become a target of mass tourism, rather than a target for wealthy travelers who can appreciate the Finnishness, the cleanliness, and the safety. We believe that the brand promise “Lake Saimaa – Purest Finland”, will pique interest with the Chinese.
The companies of the health and travel industries have become convinced that there exists a market and demand for them in China. Clinic Helena and Kruunupuisto – offering cutting edge breast cancer treatment, and rehabilitation and wellness services respectively – have formed the forefront to build a business group in China. Osuuskauppa Suur-Savo and Savonlinna Seudun Matkailu Oy have also joined the effort. Thanks to the right partners, a spectacular launch event was held on 13th May in Beijing, in cooperation with China Association of Travel Agents and Beijing Association of Tourism Industry.
Two visits to Beijing, meetings, and negotiation with travel agencies. Searching for partners and active promotions in the health industry. A media tour to Savonlinna. The result has been an astounding amount of visibility and fame in Beijing. The most important actors in the industry surely already have a good understanding of what Saimaa and Savonlinna represent: pure nature, healthy environment, specialized health and wellness services, as well as exercise opportunities in the nature. Businesses have informed that reservations and requests to offer have been made by travel organizers. The Chinese, concrete way to act has made an impression on the people of Savonlinna. Through cooperation, Savonlinna has become convinced that there is demand for services. There have already been plans for a Saimaa expo in 2020, focused on health, wellness, clean food, exercise, and sports.