Growing Number of Asian Tourists Visit Estonia ({{commentsTotal}})

The East on our mind - a banner from last year's Shanghai EXPO
The East on our mind - a banner from last year's Shanghai EXPO Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
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Speakers at the 9th Estonian Travel and Tourism Conference said that the number of Asian tourists visiting Estonia has increased in recent years, but informed marketing in Asia must continue in order to secure further growth.

Minister of Foreign Trade and Entrepreneurship Anne Sulling, who delivered the opening speech, said that all countries face a fierce battle for Asian tourists. Estonia must therefore carefully formulate its strengths and target the market accordingly.

"A tourist from Asia is increasingly in search of authentic experiences and Estonia most certainly has a lot to offer. Our pure nature and good environment are excellent selling points that Asian people can value," Sulling said.

Estonian Travel and Tourism Association's Secretary General Kristen Lahtein said the number of tourists from Asia has grown considerably.

"As a general rule, Estonia is not the sole destination of an Asian tourist, rather a part of much longer journey. But the tourists who come here from Asia are impressed - they like our friendly people, our beautiful manor houses and thrilling history. For them, our culture is exotic," Lahtein said.

Tarmo Mutso, the director of Estonian Tourist Board, said that an increasing number of Asian tourists visit Europe, and Estonia profits from it.

"Since an Asian tourist prefers trips with multiple destinations, then the proximity to Helsinki gives us a big advantage. From the Asian side, Vantaa airport [in Helsinki] is practically a direct connection, as it only takes half an hour to travel from Helsinki to Tallinn. We must, therefore, very cleverly use our advantages, but be realistic at the same time, for most tourists still come here through our neighboring countries - Finland, Russia, Latvia, Sweden and Germany," Mutso said.

All the speaker agreed that expanding the Asian market will require patience and determination. They also said that Asian tourists expect high quality service, accommodation, catering and itinerary.