State allocates less funding than expected for tourism sector in budget ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Finnish tourists disembarking from a special cruise vessel which visited Saaremaa in summer.
Finnish tourists disembarking from a special cruise vessel which visited Saaremaa in summer. Source: Margus Muld/ERR

Support for the beleaguered tourism sector has been included in the state budget although the figure, at €5.8 million, was considerably less than businesses had reportedly hoped for.

"The total amount of tourism subsidies was decided on at €5.8 million euros. The exact distribution means will be discussed by the government in the near future," said Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) on ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Tuesday.

AK reported the sector had hoped for tens of millions of euros to be set aside in the budget. The sector had hoped that a wage support measure introduced by the government in spring would continue.

The sector was severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic and emergency situation declared by the government March to May, as borders closed and direct flights largely ground to a halt, and with recent restrictions on travel to Finland, those on late-night alcohol sales and continuing quarantine requirements for arrivals in Estonia from many countries, it remains in a bad situation.

One small glimmer on the horizon has been the easing of flight restrictions announced on Tuesday which will allow for direct flights to relaunch to European Union or EEA countries.

While the budget has been agreed at cabinet level, it then needs to pass to the Riigikogu for debating and voting, with a view to being passed into law before year-end.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Helen Wright

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