Olukorrast riigis: Criticizing Rally Estonia accommodation prices unseemly

Viru Rally 2020.
Viru Rally 2020. Source: Urmo Sibul

Journalists Harry Tuul and Piret Reiljan, hosts of the "Olukorrast riigis" radio program, regarded as inappropriate criticism that has surfaced as a reaction to exorbitant accommodation prices charged for Rally Estonia 2020 to be held in Southern Estonia at the beginning of September.

Freelance journalist Reiljan pointed out that owners are asking €5,000 for a three-room apartment in a Tartu suburb during the rally. "It is utterly absurd and I would like to see the person willing to dish out that kind of money. But at the same time, in a situation where one of the organizers of the rally Tarmo Hõbe has urged people to come to their senses because Estonia needs to leave a good impression and that the purpose of the rally is not to make money – such messages also seem inappropriate," Reiljan said.

"No one can tell me what I can charge for something that's mine or because they're worried for the country's reputation. I believe there should not be meddling on this level," she added.

Executive editor of online magazine DigiPRO Tuul agreed: "No one is worrying about things being too expensive in Switzerland. It does nothing to tarnish the country's reputation, rather, the opposite is true. On the contrary – I say entrepreneurs should charge enough to make themselves feel ashamed – as much as someone is willing to pay. One of the goals of this entire event is to liven up the economy – the state is allocating funds, but perhaps companies can also ask a little more to make up for revenue lost to the coronavirus crisis."

Tuul explained that it is the whole point of the economy for prices to go up as more people use a service.

"I believe we should charge more. The relevant question is not price, but quality. A good impression is left when accommodation providers and caterers can offer a good service, which many of them are sure to do," he added.

Reiljan found that the rally is sure to see private individuals seeking to rent out their homes. "But to hold them back or call them to order somehow – I believe the market will sort things out. If you can find someone to pay you €5,000 for three nights, go right ahead. It could become a problem if it were the only option, if everyone charged similar prices. However, I believe there will be a balance."

The journalist added that other major events have seen similar problems, such as the Weekend Festival in Pärnu where high prices are often lamented.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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