According to adopted official programmes, the strategic objective of the Lake Ladoga area policy in the spheres of tourism and recreation is the development of highly efficient and competitive tourist industry in the area. On the one hand, the industry should provide broad opportunities for satisfying the varied demands of both Russian and foreign citizens for tourist and recreational services. On the other hand, it should significantly contribute to the socio-economic development of the area, i.a. through increasing the income of regional and municipal budgets, attracting investments, creating new jobs, improving the health of the population, conserving and sustainable using the cultural, historical and natural heritage.
The sector may produce a stimulating effect on industry in
general, agriculture, transport and communications, construction and trade, and,
as proved by the global experience, constitute one of the most promising trends
in the structural transformation of the economy. An essential pre-requisite for
the emergence, establishment and development of the tourist industry as the
leader among industries of regional specialisation is a considerable tourism and
recreational potential of the territory (see "Natural resources. Tourism.").
The "Regional strategy for the development of tourism and recreation in the Leningrad region in 1998-2005" was adopted for the Leningrad region, which is now being used as the basis for the development of the corresponding Action Plans. Among those the "Programme for the development and support of protected areas for the period up to 2005" can be noted. Another important document in this respect is the Law of the Leningrad region "On tourist activities in the Leningrad region" dated 02.12.1987.
The future of Sortavala and other districts of Karelian Lake Ladoga area are also closely connected to the development of tourism. A gem of the Russian North is the island of Valaam which was officially given the status of an International Cultural Centre. The Valaam archipelago is a piece of northern nature of extraordinary beauty with hardly any traces of industrial effects where a unique combination of the nature, landscape and architecture forms a harmonious unity. In February 1990 Sortavala was included in the list of historical cities of Russia. An extensive programme is being implemented for the reconstruction of the historical and cultural monuments, development of international and national tourism.
At the same time, in spite of the high cultural and historical potential, the material and technical basis for tourism is insufficient. There is no efficiently working tourist infrastructure, the system of hotels is underdeveloped, quality of services (first of all in the sphere of accommodation) and the sanitary state of the environment are low.
In general no detailed analysis of perspectives for development of the tourism industry has been made so far. At present possibilities for development of ecotourism in the region are studied within the implementation of the WWF project in the Nizhne-Svirsky reserve.