City marketing and attraction of investments and tourists are the main directions which were followed in 2017 by the ambitious and innovative public institution “Kaunas IN”. The goals set for the institution founded at the end of 2016 are clear and easily measurable. Firstly, it's attracting investors to Kaunas, secondly, increasing the flow of tourists and cultivating the international awareness of Kaunas city. Let's see how we're doing now that 2017 has passed.
Tourists are kaunastic!
Kaunas is shining more and more bright on the tourist map of the world more and more brightly. Strategically-minded performances at exhibitions and proactive cooperation with foreign media representatives and influencers has been spreading the message to the ears of frequent travellers around the world.
For the projects and their results of 2017, Kaunas has been nominated in several categories for successful initiatives in the Lithuanian tourism awards (the winners will be announced later this month):
- The most successful tourism product of 2017 – It’s Kaunastic (last year, the blog you’re reading right now, together with its social media channels, were awarded at the LOGIN festival as the best “Cultural, non-profit website of the year”);
- The most successful tourism information / visitor centre of 2017 – “Kaunas IN”;
- The most successful tourism attraction place of 2017 – Kaunas.
There’s more! In March 2017, Kaunas won the honourable title of the European Capital of Culture of 2022. Earlier that year, Kaunas modernist architecture was included in the preliminary UNESCO World Heritage List.
In 2017, hundreds of thousands of tourists visited Kaunas. It is estimated that in the accommodation facilities the number of guests increased by 12%, and the number of overnight stays increased by 17%.
The first impression is extremely important, and the “Kaunas IN” team made sure that the local and foreign guests who visit the city would bring home the best memories only. Although the reconstruction of Vilnius airport and the transfer of flights to Kaunas was a massive challenge, the team of volunteers gathered for this period proved that everything is possible: for 35 days, from early morning to late evening, visitors of the city, arriving at Kaunas airport, were welcomed. 3,000 flights were received and 10,000 consultations were provided during 71 shift.
In April, “Kaunas IN” started to mark “Tourism information friendly” (TIF) places around the city. The aim of the project is to involve hospitality businesses in the promotion of tourism in the city and to invite them to contribute to the distribution of information. At places (restaurants, cafes, accommodation, entertainment and service providers) marked with TIF stickers, one can find free maps and get answers to frequently asked questions.
“The excellent results of 2017 are making us even more obliged and encourage us. We want the number of incoming tourists to grow at least 7-10%; we are also looking for new marketing tools for the targeted tourism markets, this means their effectiveness and the increasing number of the tourists will be the biggest evaluation for us next year,” says Inga Pažereckaitė-Kalėdienė, the head of tourism department of “Kaunas IN”.
“As the experience shows, each market requires different and individual attention, so we try to individualize the products we create, in other words, we adapt them to the specifics of a particular market. For example, for the Japanese we created a “Sugihara Route” which includes the selected objects related to the legendary diplomat Chiune Sugihara and the relations of Kaunas and Japan (the map was evaluated and rewarded by Japan Association of Travel Agents in Japan Tourism Awards). For tourists of Jewish origin, we have prepared the route “The Litvak Landscape”; “Gastro Kaunas” has been praised by foodies and those in love with Italian culture were pleasantly surprised with “Italy in Kaunas”. Our goal is to make every tourist feel special and welcome in our city.”. All of the aforementioned publications (and more!) can be downloaded here.
Redrawing the investment map
Large international manufacturing companies establishing their local branches; rapidly expanding supply of offices necessary for the development of service centres – indeed, last year has been very successful for the city of Kaunas and the surrounding region. The leading world-wide supplier of automation technology from Germany “Festo” will create 300 jobs in the nearest future. Austrian provider of highly dynamic, automated logistics solutions “TGW Logistics Group” plans to open an engineering services centre with 100 employees. The United States company “Hollister” plans to invest around 50 million euros in its medical equipment factory and create around 300 jobs. The German company “Hella”, manufacturer of electronic components for the automotive industry, will invest up to 30 million euros in a new production complex and employs up to 250 people. The German leader in the automotive components industry “Continental” will make the investment which will become the largest foreign direct investment in greenfield project not only in the region of Kaunas, but also in the history of Lithuania. The company intends to invest 95 million euros and create 1,000 new jobs. These are just some of the names and numbers that are redrawing the investment map of Kaunas region.
The decisions of global investors to open factories worth tens of millions of euros and with hundreds of new jobs in the Kaunas region are a positive message to other investors about the prospects of the region and the whole Lithuania to implement large investment projects. “Kaunas IN”, in close cooperation with the “Invest Lithuania” team, seeks to ensure that large investment projects attracted to the Kaunas region are implemented smoothly and that positive investor experiences would be a good example to attract more investors in the manufacturing sector.
The service sector of Kaunas also provides an optimistic look at the future. Although there are already good examples in the city, for instance, the intense development of the “Intermedix” service centre, the shortage of suitable offices hampered the faster development of the sector. Nevertheless, the 2017 may be called the year of growth of the modern office market in Kaunas: by the end of 2018, 22 office projects will be completed, totalling about 130,000 sq. m area.
“Investors are concerned not only with the offices but also with the specialists working in them, therefore, it is important to continue strengthening information technology studies in Kaunas and attracting talents who are studying in the study programs of this direction,” says Živilė Kazlauskaitė, the team leader of regional development of “Invest Lithuania”. According to her, it is especially worth to focus on foreign language skills – to encourage specialists to learn Scandinavian, German, and French.
More news about investment, business and job opportunities in Kaunas can be found at www.kaunasin.lt
All photos by Andrius Aleksandravičius