In 10 years time, Ida-Viru County is aiming to become Estonia's second most popular tourist destination, leapfrogging Tartu County and Pärnu County, the tourism coordinator for the region has said.
Kadri Jalonen, the Tourism Coordinator of Ida-Viru County, said Ida-Viru County's trump card is the region's uniqueness and the ability to expectations of first-time visitors. It is also considered a plus that points of interest are concentrated in a small area.
Jalonen said: If you come from Tallinn, than from the Kiviõli adventure centre is 15 minutes away from the Aidu canals, from there it is 10 minutes to the mining museum, and from there it is 20 minutes to Saka Manor. And they are all completely separate experiences."
Aidu's water park, the new waterfront promenade at Sillamäe, and more attractions in Narva will increase the attractions in the area in the coming years.
Adventure tourism organizers, as well as the owners of Ida-Viru County's accommodation establishments, believe information about the county is spreading.
Imre Poom, of adventure tour company Adrenaator Group, said: "We are a very attractive county. People are discovering us and everyone is spreading the word, so I think this is just the beginning of a very big thing."
Mäetaguse Manor Hotel manager Terje Rattur said she had seen an increase of overnight stays. "If we look at the latest figures from last year, we can see that we had 1,300 more overnight stays than in 2018, which has given us two extra months' worth of turnover," she said.
Hoteliers are also ready to revive the tourism sector, as last year, Ida-Viru County added 200 new beds across the county, approximately 4 percent, almost the same as in the previous 10 years.
The number of overnight stays in accommodation establishments is already higher in Ida-Viru County than data shows, as two of eight municipalities - Kohtla-Järve and Sillamäe - are currently excluded from accommodation statistics.
"There are no more than two statisticians in these two municipalities. There must be at least three for such data to be published. But tourists do stay overnight in Sillamäe and Kohtla-Järve, so these places are an undiscovered treasure for us," said Jalonen.
In the last two years, the number of overnight stays in accommodation establishments in Ida-Viru County exceeded 400,000. The tourism cluster of Ida-Virumaa has set the goal of increasing the number of overnight stays by least 50,000 overnight stays.
Editor: Helen Wright