Tallinn hoping for return of Finnish tourists this summer

Tallinn hopes tourists can be attracted to the city this summer and is working in cooperation with Helsinki.

Tallinn is the biggest tourist attraction in Estonia but with the unreliable coronavirus situation companies are unsure how to make plans for the upcoming summer season.

Tallinn City Government is currently considering how justified it is to spend taxpayers' money on entertainment at all, Deputy Mayor Aivar Riisalu told ERR.

He said the city now has some experience after winter events were organized this year with the restrictions in mind.

"But because the winter situation was relatively stable and infection rates were not very high, the current situation has made us wonder if we have a moral right to spend resources in a situation where events may have to be canceled," he added.

The annual Old Town Days have been pushed back from June to August in the hope that they can go ahead. Riisalu said, having spoken to event organizers, there are few events currently planned for June.

Tallinn will start collecting ideas from entrepreneurs on the visittallinn.ee portal and the city will hold bi-weekly meetings with entrepreneurs in the spring.

Looking to Finland

Tallinn is ready to move forward with its marketing campaign, Riisalu said, if the situation has improved by the end of April. Cooperation with Helsinki is being established so Finnish tourists can visit Tallinn.

The Finns will be the campaigns' main target groupt this year as this is where the highest number of tourists usually comes from.

"Let's be honest: half of the nine to 10 million (usually) Tallink passengers are Finns. If we got a third of that, it would be more than a million people. We're unlikely to get it, but at least we'll try. We can't go crazy either: we are the world leader in the spread of the corona today. In this situation, we have to make big plans ... [but] We still have to behave wisely with public money, look at the circumstances: if the situation still doesn't allow, there is no point in burning money," said Riisalu.

Tallinn City Government is also hoping for the launch of a European vaccine passport which may bring more tourists to the city, the deputy mayor said.

City supporting outdoor cafes

In previous years during the spring and summer, outdoor terraces have been an integral part of the capital's streets. Currently, Tallinn has reduced the rental space for outdoor terraces to zero until the end of April but it is not yet known if this will be extended through the summer period.

"If the government does not impose [additional] restrictions, we will definitely be very in favor of outdoor cafes. Today we have a rental exemption until the end of April and I am convinced that we want to fully support this process," the deputy mayor said.

Riisalu said: "Following these rules, 2+2 and the others, outdoor cafes could have a great future this summer."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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