Some Narva businesses experiencing downturn after Russian tourist ban

Narva castle reopened to the public after an extensive renovation on June 19.
Narva castle reopened to the public after an extensive renovation on June 19. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

The Russian tourist ban implemented earlier this year has reduced visits and turnover in the border city of Narva. While some businesses are still struggling, others have found ways to fill the gaps.

German chain store Lidl opened its Narva store in March but the Russian visa ban was not foreseen.

This has led to a "significant reduction" in customers, Lidl Estonia's communications manager Katrin Seppel told Friday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

"At the moment, due to a lack of customers, it is not possible to offer full-time work to all employees. We are proposing a temporary reduction in working hours so as not to start making redundancies," she said.

Narva's largest shopping center Astri saw a 20 percent drop in the number during coronavirus and related restrictions. But now domestic tourism is filling the gap and there has been an increase in customers.

Margus Teelahk, manager of the Astri and Fama shopping centers, told AK a big part of this increase was related to spas in the region.

Astri Center in Narva. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

"People came to relax and also visited our centers. The tourism cluster has got people visiting with its campaigns. So we are going into the New Year in a positive mood," he told AK.

Companies in the center are not planning any reductions in working hours.

The number of visitors at Narva Museum has risen in comparison to last year. But it is difficult to find a replacement for wealthier Russian tourists who had different consumption habits to locals.

"They bought a lot of souvenirs and made the most of everything on offer, such as the tours. Nowadays, we are feeling a sharp shortage of this type of customer," said Narva Museum Marketing Manager Darja Bojarova.

The museum has reduced its working days from seven to five, but this is largely due to energy prices, not tourism.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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