Tourists finding their way back to Tallinn
Tourists are increasingly finding their way to the Tallinn Old Town again, while hitting pre-crisis levels would require the return of Finns alongside business and conference tourism.
It doesn't take long to find tourists from many different places in the world in Tallinn Old Town that was until recently avoided like the plague. People have been creative in making their way to Estonia, with Min from Korea arriving through Germany.
"Estonia is far from Korea, which is why we try to imagine what it could look like. It is a mystical place on which there is little information," she told ETV current affairs program "Aktuaalne kaamera."
Many say that Covid restrictions are tougher elsewhere.
"It is as if there is no Covid in Estonia and the measures are very light. They are much tougher in Switzerland. That is perfect for us as tourists," Tamara from Switzerland said. "Yes, it is very nice not to have to wear a mask," Patrick added.
The MyCity hotel and its 84 rooms have been closed since last fall, and it is not the only one. Entrepreneurs are waiting for positive signs.
"The international vacation, city break tourist is back. It is perhaps 10 percent of what we saw before the crisis, while the trend is positive. We can see new inquiries and people every week," said Killu Maidla, executive manager of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association.
Tallinn has been found again mostly by backpack tourists who do not contribute much in terms of revenue. Conference and business tourism that is far more lucrative for the city still has to wait its time.
"It is cheaper here than in Scandinavia, while I'm from Greece and it is still more expensive than it is at home," Chris said.
Developments in the tourism sector remain hectic.
"There are some people on the weekends, while it is completely dead on workdays, there is no logic involved. I had five people yesterday, a little over ten today, while I took 80 people on the town last week," city tour guide Loviise Kapper said.
Experts say that Finnish tourism is key. The Finnish government's rhetoric has changed and bans have been lifted but there are still relatively few Finns in Tallinn.
"I believe it will be months before Finnish tourism recovers. At Tallink, we forecast recent Finnish tourist volumes to return next summer, which is to say that the sector is looking at another winter of discontent," said Katri Link, head of communications for the Baltic Sea shipper.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski