Tour organizers baffled after Enterprise Estonia cancels tourism campaign

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View of Lake Viljandi from the ruins of Viljandi Castle. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

An Enterprise Estonia pre-Christmas campaign, supposed to inspire people to gift each other nature experiences and gift cards, was suspended due to the coronavirus, leaving tour organizers to hope that an alternative solution can be found.

While domestic tourism saw a rise during summer, the muddy fall weathers do not invite many out for tours in nature. Nature Tours Estonia tour organizer Kristina Traks, and many others, were hoping for support from an Enterprise Estonia campaign called "Kingi aega" ("Give the gift of time"), supposed to inspire people to gift each other gift cards for experiences, including canoe trips or snowshoeing.

The campaign however, was suspended due to the spread of COVID-19 in Estonia. "Seems like a reasonable plan, right? That you buy a gift card today, give it to someone who is interested in nature and would like to go on a trip and they choose the time they want to go. But now, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication decided that it is an activity of high risk, these gift cards. It baffles me," Traks said.

Liina Maria Lepik, head of the tourism development department at Enterprise Estonia, admitted that they do not feel proud standing in front of the tourism sector. "But we would not want to create a situation, where we have just about activated people to go outside of their homes and visit grandma. While these things can be timed, we do not want any negative emotions that come with the message," Lepik said.

Enterprise Estonia's summer campaign "Armasta Eestit" ("Love Estonia") was considered a success, informing people of what can be done in their homeland. Enterprise Estonia still hopes to conduct the "Kingi aega" campaign, but only once the epidemiological situation has improved.

"Christmas is the time where people want to buy something for gifts, if we push it to spring now, there likely will not be as many interested in gift cards," Aivar Ruukel, head of the Estonian Nature Tourism Union, said.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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