Tourism fell by 57 percent on year to January 2021, state agency Statistics Estonia reports. The fall for foreign tourists stood at 92 percent over the same period. At the same time, some of Estonia's less populous counties actually saw a rise in overnight stays, buoyed by Estonian citizens and residents going on vacation in their own country.
Hotels, guest houses and other accommodation businesses served 96,000 tourists in January this year, who between them spent 184,000 nights, Statistics Estonia says. The bulk of these, around 80 percent, were domestic tourists, though this figure also fell on year.
Helga Laurmaa, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said: "After several years, Estonia has had plenty of snow this winter, which coaxed people out of their homes. At the same time, the number of domestic tourists was 9 percent smaller than in January 2020."
In January, 86,000 domestic tourists spend 148,000 nights at accommodation establishments in January 2021.
The same figures for tourists from outside Estonia stood at 10,000 and 36,000, the agency says.
There were no changes in the major countries of origin of foreign tourists – Estonia's immediate EU neighbors Finland (2,000 tourists) and Latvia (1,000) were the most highly-represented, unsurprisingly given travel restrictions for those two countries are lighter than the rest of the EU/EEA and beyond.
Foreign tourists spent a total of 36,000 nights in Estonia, which represents just 14 percent of the nights spent in January 2020.
Harju County, the most populous region of Estonia, saw the highest number of stays, followed by Pärnu and Tartu counties.
The number of accommodated tourists fell by over 80 percent in both Harju and Ida-Viru county, due to virus-related restrictions and the consequent dearth of foreign tourists.
At the same time, several counties actually saw an increase in tourism, the result of domestic trips within Estonia. This occurred particularly in Valg, Järva, Lääne-Viru and Viljandi counties, the agency says.
Just under 900 businesses were open to guests in January, providiing 19,000 rooms, Statistics Estonia reports.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the large fall in demand and reliance on domestic business, the average price of an overnight stay fell, by €8 to €30 per night on year to January 2021, the agency says.
Tartu County was actually the most expensive at €36 per night, with Pärnu County in second place at €32 per night on average. A night's stay in Harju County, including Tallinn, cost €28 on average, and slightly less than that in Valga County – which borders Latvia – at €27, Statistics Estonia says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte