According to Enterprise Estonia (EAS), tourism exports fell by 63 percent or €1.3 billion in 2020, reaching only €763 million.
"Especially in a small country, it is clear that our prosperity or lack thereof depends primarily on the extent to which we are able to sell goods and services outside Estonia," Liina Maria Lepik, director the of the Estonian Tourist Board, said in a press release, adding that tourism revenue had been on the rise so far.
Tourism exports consist of a total of two economic indicators, which are exports of travel services and exports of passenger transport.
Exports of travel services, that is expenditures of residents of foreign countries in Estonia, totaled €517 million in 2020. This is a decrease of 67 percent or €1.04 billion compared to 2019. The last time the export of travel services was the same was in 1999.
Exports of travel services show the expenditure of all residents of foreign countries in Estonia, including one-day visitors and those who do not spend the night in accommodation establishments. The number of overnight stays of foreign tourists in accommodation establishments also showed a similar result - their overnight stays totaled 1.4 million, which is at a similar level as in 1999.
Exports of passenger transport, that is payments of residents of foreign countries to Estonian transport companies, totaled €245 million in 2020. This is a decrease of 52 percent or €266 million compared to 2019.
The drastic decline also reduced the share of exports of tourism services in exports as a whole. While in 2019, the share of tourism services exports accounted for almost a third of services exports, it was only 13.5 percent last year. The share of tourism in the export of goods and services was one tenth in 2019, last year it dropped to 4 percent.
According to Enterprise Estonia, this year has also started very hard for the tourism sector. According to Statistics Estonia, the nights spent by foreign tourists in January make up only 14 percent of the January 2020 level.
The nights spent by domestic tourists in January of this year accounted for as much as 97 percent of the level of January last year, but they do not in any way compensate for the hole made by foreign tourism, as domestic tourism accounted for one third and foreign tourism for two thirds of the total volume of Estonian tourism before the pandemic.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste