Foreign Visitors Survey to begin at border crossing points ({{commentsTotal}})

The dam connecting Muhumaa and Saaremaa
The dam connecting Muhumaa and Saaremaa Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Statistics Estonia and Enterprise Estonia have launched the second stage of the Foreign Visitors Survey that started at the border crossing points of Estonia in the summer. The second stage will last until the middle of December.

The winter round will try to determine whether there is a difference in the travel motivation, behavior and satisfaction describing tourists visiting Estonia in the summer and those arriving in the winter.

“While summer is the high season of tourism in Estonia and foreign visitors come here mostly for their holiday, then in the current phase of the survey it is very interesting to see which countries’ residents visit Estonia in the winter season and for which reasons,” said Kaja Sõstra, Head of the Methodology and Analysis Department of Statistics Estonia.

“In the summer, Statistics Estonia interviewed 5,600 foreign residents for the survey, but in the winter season, the number of interviewees is smaller and approximately 3,000 foreign residents will be interviewed. Also, in accordance with the season, a couple of interviewing points have changed – three spa hotels in Pärnu have been added, for example,” Sõstra explained.

According to Tarmo Mutso, Director of Enterprise Estonia’s Tourism Development Center, the winter round of the survey will give the full picture of the travel motivation of foreign visitors in the low season.

“The current round will determine the general trends in the winter season, but the motivation for travelling around New Year will be studied in the third stage of the survey, which starts at the beginning of the New Year,” Mutso added.

Statistics Estonia’s interviewers talk to foreign visitors at the passenger port, airport, bus station and railway station in Tallinn, at the border crossing points in Narva, Koidula and Luhamaa, at the Ahhaa centre in Tartu, at three spa hotels in Pärnu, at the former border crossing points in Valga and at the petrol station and the car park of the shopping center in Valga city. The interviewers carry an employment certificate bearing their photograph and issued by Statistics Estonia.

The Foreign Visitors Survey has been commissioned by Enterprise Estonia, who uses the received data in providing input to the tourism sector. The information received from the survey is also an important data source for the Central Bank of Estonia, in calculating Estonia’s income from tourism.

In addition to Enterprise Estonia and the tourism sector, the data received from the survey are also necessary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and to local governments. For example, based on the survey data, it can be decided which new tourist attractions, roads and border crossing points should be invested in.

Statistics Estonia organizes the survey in co-operation with the Police and Border Guard Board, and companies engaging in passenger transport.

The results of the survey will be published in spring 2015.

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