Russian Tourists More Than Make Up for Declining Finns
Russian tourists outnumbered Finnish tourists for the first time ever in January. They also stay longer than Finns and bring more money in for local enterprises.
Russian tourists are drawn by shopping and the Old Town with its restaurants and sights. But they also end up further afield, being fond of the south and the islands, ETV reported.
Russians tend to time their visits with certain holidays - public off days or vacation - more than the Finns.
"Russian tourists generally spend longer here than Finnish tourists. They stay three or four days and during that time they naturally eat at the hotel restaurant and consume hotel services, but very many of them also go out," said Sokos Hotel Viru director Anu Soosaar.
A total 154,000 tourists stayed the night at Estonian lodging providers in January, 5 percent more than in 2011. That figure included 38,000 Russians and 30,000 Finns.
"Russian tourists spend 300 euros on average [during their stay], Finns around 180 euros," said Estonian Tourist Board director Tarmo Mutso. "So the number of nights stayed and the expenditure per person makes Russian tourists very valuable for us."
Mutso said that if the situation at the Narva border is improved, the numbers could swell by another several hundred thousand visitor per year.