The Regional Council of South Karelia is a joint municipal authority of 9 member municipalities. The Council operates as the authority for regional development and unit for regional planning. The Council has also a task to look after regional interests and to promote economic development and cultural well-being in South Karelia. The Council has a statutory responsibility for regional development and planning.
EU’s regional Objective Programmes for South Karelia have partly been prepared in the Council as it also implements and coordinates various projects. The Council also represents in several international organisations such as AEBR.
The province of South Karelia lies right next to the Russian border in South East Finland. This part of Karelia has been a borderland between eastern and western cultures for centuries.
South Karelia is a popular tourist area in Finland with its special features – its nature, its location between Lake Saimaa and the border as well as its cultural heritage and history as a border region.
Thanks to the natural attractions, waterways and islands, tourism has natural prerequisites for developing in South Karelia. The provincial centres are continuously improving their services. Lappeenranta has in recent years focused particularly on tourism services for families, and Imatra on fishing and spa tourism. There is a good selection of agritourism attractions and tourism services available around the region.
One of the most interesting special features of the region is the eastern border of the country, which today also marks the boundary of the European Union.
To cross the border, you can travel from Lappeenranta by train to Vainikkala, or by road or inland waterways to Nuijamaa. The twin towns of Imatra-Svetogorsk are united by a border crossing in Imatra. In total more than one million people/passengers travel via these crossings annually. A visa is still required when crossing the border in either direction.
South Karelia province is a mixture of green reality lifestyle, high-tech industry, growing business, shopping centers, commerce and beautiful natural environment on the shore of Lake Saimaa.