March saw a fall in the number of tourists staying in Estonia of 62 percent on year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the emergency situation the Estonian government declared mid-way through that month, Statistics Estonia reports. The fall in volume of foreign tourists was even higher, at 64 percent.
The total number of nights stayed in accommodation establishments, so far as tourists went, stands at 177,000 for March, Statistics Estonia says.
Of this figure, 45,000 were foreign tourists. These came primarily from Finland (35 percent), the Russian Federation (21 percent) and Latvia (9 percent).
Compared with March 2019, the number of foreign tourists decreased by 64 percent, Statistics Estonia reports.
Tourists from all three of the above countries fell, by 71 percent in the case of Latvia, and by 65 percent and 53 percent with Finland and Russia respectively, compared with March 2019.
Estonia imposed the emergency situation on March 12 in response to the spread of COVID-19, bringing foreign tourism to a standstill. Anyone entering the country would need to self-quarantine for 14 days, and the vast majority of flight links to Tallinn fell dormant. Passenger ferry transport largely ended too during March, with many ferries being used to transport cargo, for instance between Estonia and Finland.
Helga Laurmaa, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that: "In the middle of March, many countries closed borders and recommended people stay at home, and this is now reflected in the accommodation statistics."
Foreign tourists spent 94,000 nights in Estonia in March, a fall of 64 percent on year as noted, with Harju County the most popular destination, followed by Pärnu, Ida-Viru and Tartu counties.
Domestic tourism would necessarily be less affected by the coronavirus restrictions, though Saaremaa and Muhu saw stricter regulations in place, which prevented non-residents from entering.
Accommodation establishments served 45,000 domestic tourists, spending a total of 83,000 nights. The number of domestic tourists fell by 59 percent, overnight stays by 52 percent, compared with March 2019.
Most domestic tourists were on vacation, Statistics Estonia reports, while a quarter were on a business trip.
The most popular destination was again Harju County, followed by Pärnu, Tartu and Ida-Viru counties.
908 accommodation establishments were open for business to tourists in March.
The average cost per night was €33 euros, a fall of €3 on March 2019.
Harju and Tartu counties were slightly more expensive to stay in, at €37 per person, per night, on average, compared with €29 in Ida-Viru County and €27 in Pärnu County.
More detailed data from Statistics Estonia is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte