Travel restrictions mean tourist spending down €400 million in Q2 2020

Small numbers of tourists and travelers arriving at the Port of Tallinn shortly after the end of the emergency situation in May.
Small numbers of tourists and travelers arriving at the Port of Tallinn shortly after the end of the emergency situation in May. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Travel restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic cost the state around €400 million in the second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020) the Bank of Estonia says, the result of the loss of tourist spending which should have happened if free travel had taken place.

120,000 foreign tourists visited Estonia in Q2 2020, a 93 percent fall on year to Q2 2020. Foreign visits by Estonia residents fell by a similar figure, down 88 percent on the previous year. 

Breakdown of foreign tourism in Estonia

  •  Foreign tourists in Estonia spent €36 million in Q2 2020, €400 million less than a year before, the result of the large drop in incoming tourists noted above.
  • While Finland was still the largest single source country of foreign tourists, making up a half of the total ini Q2 2020, Finnish tourists were down around 90 percent on year.
  • Latvian citizens and residents made up the second-largest component of foreign tourists in Finland, though their numbers were down 82 percent.
  • Restrictions on Estonia's land border with Latvia, and maritime border with Finland, were in place through most of the government's emergency situation which ran from March to May, meaning only essential travel was permitted for much of that time.
  • Of those foreign tourists who did arrive in Estonia in Q2 2020, numbers of those making a one-day visit fell by 96 percent at a time when no cruise ships docked in Estonia, and overnight stays were down by 93 percent, though their average length had risen to four nights.

Breakdown of Estonian tourism abroad 

  •  Citizens and residents of Estonia made 115,000 trips abroad in Q2 2020, down 88 percent on year.
  • Again, Latvia and Finland were the most popular destinations, though tourism to these countries was down by 60 percent and 80 percent respectively.
  • Around a quarter of these were same-day visits, which were down 82 percent, and overnight stays, averaging three nights in Q2 2020, were down 90 percent.
  • Estonian residents spent less than one tenth abroad than they had done in Q2 2019, at €30 million.

The Bank of Estonia says it compiles foreign travel statistics as part of its balance of payment figures, which include exports and imports of travel services as here; the full balance of payments for Q2 2020 will be published on September 8, the bank says. 

More information is here and here


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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