Foreign tourists traveling to Estonia despite fears of war

Tallinn Airport.
Tallinn Airport. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The summer season promises to bring a lot of tourists to Estonia this year as both the coronavirus pandemic and fears of the war are subsiding.

Fear of war has dissuaded many American and Asian tourists from traveling to Estonia, while there seems to be no shortage of European tourists. Director of the Estonian Tourism Board Liina Maria Lepik described visitor figures as satisfactory.

"We really cannot complain in the current situation as tourists have rediscovered Estonia. We are especially glad to see the return of the Finns. The Latvians have also been breaking records for the first time in a long while," Lepik said.

The Ukraine war has had an effect on German tourists who have become more cautious about traveling. Lepik said that the Estonian Tourism Board has been busy explaining that Estonia is still a safe destination.

"Estonia is not at war, Estonia is a NATO member and belongs to the EU – we've had to do plenty of explaining along those lines to assuage fears. We hope the realization has taken root now," Lepik said.

Age Põder, head of partner relations for travel agents Go Travel, said that even though tourism indicators are bouncing back, a lot of group tours were canceled when the war started.

"At least half. We saw a wave of cancellations when the war started. But the good thing is that people are keeping the door open to one day coming to Estonia. Projects that were put on hold when Covid hit are also being dusted off," Põder suggested.

Liina Maria Lepik said that there is optimism going into summer as Europeans are bold travelers, fears of the war are subsiding and trips canceled because of the coronavirus are put back on the agenda.

"This summer will see revenge traveling – I will catch up on all the years of traveling I've missed. We can also see such countries as Spain and France breaking records in Estonia," Lepik said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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