To alleviate the lost income caused by a lack of foreign tourists during the coronavirus pandemic, Ida-Viru County has launched a campaign with the goal of attracting at least 100,000 tourists to Ida-Viru County over the summer.
Last year, a record year for tourism, saw 91,000 tourists stay in Ida-Virumaa in the period from June to August, with 34,000 of those being foreign tourists. Nearly half of those were visitors from Russia, with whom borders are still closed due to travel restrictions.
Jaak Pruunes, executive director of Toila Sanatoorium, a local accommodation and spa complex, thinks Ida-Viru County spas can manage through the summer with the help of Estonian tourists: "All spas will survive actually. I don't understand why all those hotels in Tallinn are closing. Probably only because Finns, Swedes, and Norwegians are not coming, but we can do with Estonians."
Kadri Jalonen, tourism coordinator for Ida-Viru County, said that hopes for an increase in domestic tourism are based on the developments of new and improved tourism magnets in the county, like the Narva Museum. According to Jalonen, the campaign to reinvigorate Ida-Viru tourism is also supported by the selection of an official tour operator, GoTravel.
Jalonen added: "For the first time in Estonia, a region has a common tour operator and that will give us at least eight new packages, where the partners of our tourism cluster can arrange joint packages and make actual sales, on Estonian and Finnish markets."
Many other institutions in Ida-Viru County have also joined the campaign by offering trainings and seminars in the county.
Mare Roosileht, director of TalTech's Virumaa College, said: "We joined the project from the beginning, sent information to our employees and students by lists and newsletters. For example, we recently held a strategy seminar, which we have usually done outside the county, but this time we made the strategic decision to have it in Ida-Viru County."
She added: "Estonians should not only be thinking of themselves, but also a little wider because if we're talking about economy and tourism, why should we all travel abroad and help some other economy. Let us find those locations, beautiful locations in Estonia."
To make the campaign more attractive, Ida-Viru County will also reward people that have joined the campaign (link in Estonian).
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste