Islands' summer passenger ferry volumes almost back at pre-crisis levels

The Tõll, the ferry which was out-of-service in summer after a minor accident.
The Tõll, the ferry which was out-of-service in summer after a minor accident. Source: TS Laevad

Estonia's two largest islands, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, saw a greater number of visitors in summer 2021 than the previous summer, and cargo transit in particular grew over that time.

The rise came despite one of the ferries which serves the islands being out of service several weeks after a minor collision, though it also reflects eased coronavirus restrictions; Saaremaa in particular was virtually closed off to all bar island residents during the peak of the coronavirus first wave and into early summer 2020.

Road Administration (Maanteeamet) public transport department chief Kirke Williamson said so far as ferry traffic goes, pre-crisis levels had been restored this summer.

She said: "The number of ferry passengers on island routes was essentially the same this year as in 2019. Without the disruption that occurred on the route for two weeks this summer, the number of passengers could have been even larger.

Bus traffic fell, however, mainly due to the fall in foreign tourists amid coronavirus travel restrictions.

Changes on year to May-August 2021:


Ferry trips were up by 206, to 6,441.

Passengers rise 67,036 to 815,277.

Vehicles transported grew by 35,320, to 375,938.

Plane flights (Nyx Air): 425 flights, carrying 12,314 passengers (double 2020 volume).


Ferry trips up 82, to 2,362.

368,260 passengers and 153,852 vehicles transported, both increases.

Flights (Transaviabaltika): 228 flights, carrying 5,118 passengers (20 percent increase in year).

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Many of these saw a rise in ferry trips also.

The overall figures (between island and mainland unless otherwise stated) were:

Vormsi: 976 trips

Kihnu: 683 trips

Sõru-Triigi route (between Hiiumaa and Saaremaa): 738 trips

Piirissaar: 401 trips

Manilaid islet: 104 trips

Ruhnu: 80 trips on the Ringsu-Pärnu route and 52 voyages on the Ringsu-Munalaiu route.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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