Urban marketing, attraction of investments and tourists are the main directions which the public institution “Kaunas IN”, founded in the end of 2016, with ambitious plans and innovative ideas has worked for this year. The goals are measurable and clear: to attract investors to Kaunas, increase the flow of tourists and cultivate the international awareness of Kaunas city. There are many things to be happy about, looking at the past year.
Investments of the large companies is an attractive sign for others
The emerging large companies of manufacturing, the rapidly expanding supply of offices, necessary for the development of service centres, – indeed, last year has been very successful for the Kaunas city and its region. A leading world-wide supplier of automation technology from Germany “Festo” will create 300 jobs. 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”, a manufacturer of electronic components for the automotive industry, invests 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. This is just a part of the names and numbers that change 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.
To make every tourist in Kaunas feel special
Kaunas is shining on the tourist map of the world more and more brightly. Strategically minded performances at exhibitions, proactive cooperation with foreign media representatives and influencers has spread the message that Kaunas is an attractive place for tourists.
In 2017, Kaunas has been nominated in several categories for successful initiatives in tourism:
– The most successful tourism product of 2017 – It’s Kaunastic (this year, it was 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 is other good news: Kaunas has won the honourable title of the European Capital of Culture of 2022, Kaunas modernism architecture has been included in the preliminary UNESCO World Heritage List.
In 2017, hundreds of thousands of tourists have already 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 has made sure that the local and foreign guests who visit the city will bring the best memories. Although a real challenge was the reconstruction of Vilnius airport and the transfer of flights to Kaunas, the team of volunteers gathered for this period proved that everything is possible: for 35 days, from early morning to late evening every day, visitors of the city, arriving at Kaunas airport, were welcomed, during 71 work shifts 3,000 flights were received and 10,000 consultations were provided.
Wishing to make the hospitality business directly involved in the promotion of tourism in the city and to contribute to the provision of information, “Kaunas IN” has started to mark “Tourism information friendly” places since April. At the place (catering, accommodation, entertainment or service provider) marked with such sticker, you can find the main tourist information: city map, city tour guide and get answers to frequently asked questions.
“The excellent results of this year are making us even more obliged and encourage us. We want the number of incoming tourists to grow at least 7-10%, we are looking for new marketing tools for the targeted tourism markets, so 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 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”, for the gourmet tourism lovers – the map “Gastro Kaunas”, for the Italians – “Italy in Kaunas”. Our goal is to make every tourist feel welcome and that every visitor visiting Kaunas would feel special.”