"Interest in our country as a tourism destination grows every year, and we consider cooperation with Russia to hold a lot of potential," said Small Planet Airlines managing director Jelena Hmelnitski, announcing her charter airline's contract to bring their first 300 Russian tourists to Tallinn for the 2011 New Year.
For the market as a whole, Enterprise Estonia data confirms that arrivals and overnights of Russian tourists reached a new peak in 2010, with over 100,000 Russian tourists staying at accommodation establishments during the first nine months of 2010 (47 percent higher than the same period a year ago).
"It has to be remembered that Russia was one of the very few growth markets also in 2009," reads an Enterprise Estonia report, which also noted the biggest growth was in New Year's trips occurred in January.
The report cited a general increase in 2010 Russian outbound tourism which has benefitted a large number of European destinations. Recently, the state lowered the sum for purchases eligible for a VAT refund for non-EU travelers, which is seen as particularly benefitting Estonia.