A small Finnish town on the Russian border is rapidly developing tourist attractions
Located on the East Coast of Finland, on the Russian border, the Hurppu Horizon Centre is looking for investors and hotel operators. The planned Hurppu Horizon Centre will be in the municipality of Virolahti, 14 kilometres from the E18 motorway, which connects the cities of Helsinki and St Petersburg.
Virolahti acts as one of the busiest border crossing points between Finland and Russia. The area is rapidly developing as the Zsar Outlet Village with more than 100 luxury brand stores is currently under construction and is set to open in Virolahti late 2018, making it the first Outlet centre in Finland.
The 92-hectare area master plan for Hurppu includes a 60-room spa hotel, luxury villas, forest hotel, glamping, restaurant and conference facilities. With its 600 metres of shoreline, the concept also includes a marina.
The area is known for its unique nature. Arktika – the mass migration of arctic birds – brings thousands of European birdwatchers to the area every spring as Virolahti is one of the rare points where the flocks come onshore. The archipelago of Virolahti is also a part of Gulf of Finland National Park.
Hurppu has an interesting history as the Russian Emperor Nicholas II, together with his family, used to spend their summer holidays in Hurppu from 1906 to 1914. The Emperor also had an amusement park built in Hurppu.
A unique paradise in the middle of untouched nature
The project is managed by Vadim Kasarnovski. “My dream is to offer five-star tourism experiences in the arms of unbridled nature”, says Mr Kasarnovski who moved to Finland in the early 1990s. “After years of running the helicopter company and providing exclusive service packages for businesspersons and world stars, I know what luxury travellers value and want”.
Located within an approximately two-hour drive from the Helsinki metropolitan area and a three-hour drive from St Petersburg, the area has the catchment of about 8.5 million people. These naturally form the largest market potential in the neighbourhood.
The Municipality of Virolahti has approved the plan of business activities in Hurppu. The municipality has also confirmed the intention to develop Hurppu and is ready to lay the utility networks needed for the business of the Hurppu Horizon Centre.
“The municipality of Virolahti creates the preconditions for the diversified development of business activities through the history of the region, natural resources as well as sea and border traffic. The municipality works in partnership and actively strives to build open partnerships that benefit all parties. The municipality has also confirmed the intention to develop Hurppu and is ready to lay the utility networks needed for the business of the Hurppu Horizon Centre at its own expense”, says Osmo Havuaho, the Head of Virolahti municipality.
The Hurppu Horizon Centre is set to attract customers seeking genuine nature and experiences gained through nature as well as appreciating high-quality services. “Zsar Outlet Village luxury brand stores and shopping centre in Vaalimaa provide excellent shopping and complement Hurppu's services”, says Vadim Kasarnovski.
“We share the same affluent target customer groups from Finland, Russia and Asia, and we are a perfect match in completing each other’s offers. We can provide compelling offers and packages for both shopping and recreation. We will organise bus charters from Helsinki, the airport, St Petersburg and the nearest train station, and offer tourists luxury daytrips or weekend getaway packages”, says Sami Vainiomäki, CEO of Zsar.
Finland is one of the most popular foreign destinations for Russian tourists. Russians form a significant share of tourists arriving in Virolahti and the whole South East Finland. The number of tourists crossing the border to South East Finland is increasing. “Naturally, the region is a popular destination for Russian tourists. However, many of them are day-trippers and we want to attract them to visit longer in the region. New high-quality accommodation and well-being services together with nature experiences, history and shopping facilities in the Zsar Outlet Village create a combination that makes it easy to stay”, states Sanna Nikki, Tourism Manager of the Kotka-Hamina region.