Tallinn's Radisson Blu hotel hosts emergency staff during COVID-19 crisis

Radisson Blu hotel in Talllinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A major Tallinn hotel is offering free accommodation to emergency medical personnel during the coronavirus emergency situation.

The Radisson Blu Hotel in the city center says that while the initiative does not turn a profit, it keeps the hotel going at a time when it has already had to layoff 10 percent of staff as the tourist sector ground to a halt following the imposition of the emergency situation last month.

"Right now, there are a lot of ambulances parked in front of the hotel," Radisson Blu's General Manager Kaido Ojaperv told ERR radio show "Vikerhommik" Friday morning.

"These belong to medical staff, who are in between their shifts. They work long hours, then sleep for a while and head to the front line again," Ojaperv said.

"These people are so busy with their daily work that all they want to do in the meantime is to rest and then go back into battle again," he went on.

Offering the rooms followed discussions with the hotel's owner, Eften Capital, as a relative solution to a situation where 280 high-end rooms are lying empty, Ojaperv said.
"This allows us to keep the hotel running, so we don't have to close our doors. It's not profitable, however," he added.

Radisson also has some customers involved in longer term projects in Estonia, which began before the crisis started. Other hotels in Tallinn are also hosting guests of this type, Ojaperv said.

As for signs for the future, Ojaperv said that while domestic and overseas tourism may pick up as restrictions ease, he was not so optimistic about the outlook for business and conference travel, the dominant component of Radisson Blu's business model.

"As a pure business and conference hotel, we are not seeing these signs today, but rather a relatively bleak situation in the country," Ojaperv said.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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