With Marquee Projects Completed, Tourism Investment to Drop Significantly in 2014-2020
According to a development plan approved by the government, the state will invest 123 million euros into the tourism sector from 2014-2020 - markedly less than the 200 million euros of the current financing period.
The government's targets indicate it hopes for rapid growth to continue. By 2020, export revenue from tourist services should rise to 1.6 billion euros, or 30 percent more than last year. The number of overnight stays by foreign tourists should increase to 5 million (31 percent more) and to 2.1 million (23 percent more) in the case of domestic tourists, according to the plan.
"It will be hard to repeat the growth seen in the last couple years but that is our challenge," said Minister or Economic Affairs Juhan Parts. "In the past seven years, we focused primarily on building and renovating tourist sites. In the new period, our entire existing sector will have to be effectively harnessed."
The difference in budget can be partially explained by the fact that major attractions such as the Maritime Museum, TV Tower, Road Museum and Ahhaa Center in Tartu were developed during the current period.
The development plan proposes creating comprehensive development plans for each of four regions - Tallinn, northern Estonia, southern Estonia and western Estonia - as an effort to get tourists to see as many of the attractions in the region they are already visiting.
Promotion efforts will also continue, of course. Two specific gaps are to be addressed in the upcoming period: a modern conference center is to be developed and the network of marinas - and maritime tourism in general - will be touted.
There will also be a decided focus on cultural tourism (culinary and athletic tourism among them), ecotourism and improving the quality and design of health-oriented services.
The number of foreign tourists to Estonia reached an all-time high last year. The sector accounts for 6.3 percent of Estonia's GDP, if indirect benefits are factored in.