Statistics: 2021 foreign tourism at 1997 level, domestic tourism set record

Tourists at the Old City Harbour terminal in Tallinn.
Tourists at the Old City Harbour terminal in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While foreign tourism in Estonia in 2021 fell to the level it had last been in 1997, domestic tourism set an all-time record, state agency Statistics Estonia reports.

Statistics Estonia analyst Helga Laurmaa said that "Accommodation establishments have never served so many domestic tourists in a year, but the number of foreign tourists was comparable to 1997."

Those accommodation establishments – hotels, guest houses etc. – hosted a total of just over 2 million tourists, domestic and international, all told.

This figure represented a rise of 8 percent on the first year of the pandemic, 2020, but a fall of 44 percent on the figure for the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.

The breakdown by origin was 1.6 million domestic tourists, i.e. Estonian citizens and residents staying overnight and away from home and a 22 percent rise on 2020, compared with 600,000 foreign tourists.

The domestic tourism figure was 3 percent higher in 2021 than it had been in 2019.

The foreign tourist figure represented a 17-percent fall, 2020-2021.

Accommodated foreign and domestic tourist figures for 2021. Source: Statistics Estonia

Tourism figures breakdown (Source: Statistics Estonia)

  • Domestic tourists spent 2.7 million nights in accommodation establishments (up 20 percent) and foreign tourists 1.3 million nights (down 9 percent).
  • The average cost per night stood at €34 per guest, a rise of 6 percent on 2020.
  • Harju, Pärnu, Tartu and Ida-Viru counties hosted the bulk of both foreign and domestic tourists.
  • Of foreign tourists, the most significant country of origin in 2021 was Finland, with 144,000 tourists arriving in Estonia through the year, followed by Latvia (89,000), Germany (42,000), Lithuania and Russia (29,000 each).

Travel restrictions in December 2021 were considerably lighter than those in place in December 2020, a major factor in the rise in tourism in that month, Statistics Estonia says.

Breakdown on year to December 2021 (source: Statistics Estonia)

  • There were 889 accommodation establishments open for tourists in December 2021.
  • Room occupancy stood at 33 percent, while bed place occupancy was 25 percent.
  • The average cost of one gust night in December 2021 stood at €37, a rise of €7 on December 2020.
  • 195,000 tourists were hosted nationwide in December, with 123,000 of these from inside Estonia (spending 206,000 nights in total - an average of 1.7 nights per tourist) and 71,000 from outside (who spent 149,000 nights in total, or 2.1 nights per tourist on average).

More detailed information is here, here and here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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