The cancellation of a major ski race cannot be considered a completely catastrophic for the municipality, but the impact on the budget and entrepreneurs is significant, said Kaido Tamberg, the mayor of Otepää.
At the end of January, the organizers announced the warm weather and lack of snow meant the World Cup in Otepää on February 8-9 would not take place. On Monday the organizers of the Tartu Marathon announced the legendary sporting event will also be canceled. It is also quite likely that the European Biathlon Championships scheduled for the end of February will also have to be canceled.
All of this means a significant blow to the wallet of both the municipality and the entrepreneurs, said Kaido Tamberg, the mayor of the rural municipality council.
"The rural municipality is very dependent on winter. It will certainly affect us, especially the way our entrepreneurs are doing. It will certainly give us a strong sense of the fact that most of the businesses in the municipality are involved in winter. To all the entrepreneurs and people, the impact is huge, " he said.
Tamberg said the exact impact on the budget cannot is hard to estimate because the impact is indirect. "But first and foremost, labor taxes have an impact - businesses employ less temporary labor and are likely to reduce fixed labor. All of this has an impact on the municipality through tax cuts," he said.
"We don't have a kind of casino here, so good luck, too. But we always have to keep in mind that when winter comes up, it's kind of a buffer," said the mayor.
As so many of the municipality's businesses are involved in winter and snow in one way or another - offering winter sports or lodging services - Tamberg believes that something must be done to make things better in the future.
"It is up to entrepreneurs and the municipality to start thinking about how to reduce their dependence on winter. We will always be dependent on snow, but we have to reduce our dependence every month," he said.
The Tartu Marathon alone would have brought thousands of people to the area. Tamberg said, it is not possible to say with certainty that canceling three races alone will reduce the number of visitors to the municipality.
"You might think that there will be 10,000 to 20,000 fewer tourists this winter than some good winters, but the actual number is much higher. Tourists are the ones who stay longer, but the ones who stay here and leave money, for example. Participants in the Tartu Marathon - there are still many, many more; said the mayor.
Tamberg said he has only recently met with entrepreneurs in the municipality. "The owners themselves are now hedging risks. They are taking money out of their pockets to survive the worst times," he noted.
Otepää rural municipality can only help entrepreneurs in a smaller way, he said.
"If the municipality has a contract with a company for some facilities, when it comes to paperwork to get an extension to pay the bills, we still come back. as much as the municipality can do, "Tamberg said.
Editor: Helen Wright