The number of accommodated tourists who stayed in Estonia in October this year rose 19 percent on year to nearly 270,000, state agency Statistics Estonia says.
The number of foreign tourists* rose in that time, while the number of domestic tourists fell, the agency says.
Statistics Estonia analyst Helga Laurmaa said: "The number of foreign tourists had not yet returned to pre-coronavirus crisis levels, but it was comparable to the figures for October 2010 and 2011."
"However, the number of foreign tourists was 58 percent higher than in October 2021. Domestic tourism did not set a new record, with 4 percent fewer domestic tourists than in October last year," Laurmaa added.
Foreign tourists totaled 131,000 in October 2022, domestic tourists, those staying in hotels, hostels and guest houses when traveling to different parts of the country, 139,000.
Tourism statistics in October 2022 quick facts (source: Statistics Estonia):
- Foreign tourists spent a total of 272,000 nights in Estonia.
- Largest numbers of foreign visitors came from Finland (58,000) and Latvia (19,000 and up 31 percent on pre-pandemic levels).
- Tourism from Finland was up 88 percent, and from Latvia up 83 percent, on year.
- The number of tourists arriving from "further afield" – Germany, the U.K., France, Norway, and some Asian countries – was still much smaller than in 2019.
- Seventy-seven percent of the foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments in Harju county, followed by Pärnu (10 percent), Tartu (5 percent), and Saaremaa (2 percent) counties.
- Domestic tourists spent a total of 230,000 nights in accommodation establishments.
- With 69 percent of domestic tourists, the purpose of the trip was vacationing, while 24 percent were on business trips.
- The largest share of domestic tourists (32 percent) was accommodated in Harju County, 14 percent in Pärnu County, 12 percent in Tartu County, 10 percent in Ida-Viru County, and 8 percent on Saaremaa.
- In October, 973 accommodation establishments with five or more bed places served visitors – this is 123 fewer than in September.
- There were 21,000 rooms and 50,000 bed places available for guests. The room occupancy rate was 45 percent.
- The average cost of a guest night was €44 per person per night, which is one euro cheaper than in September 2022.
- The average cost of an overnight stay per person was €47 in Harju County, €49 in Tartu County, €46 in Ida-Viru County, €43 on Saaremaa, and €37 in Pärnu County.
* The number of foreign tourists does not include refugees from Ukraine.
Statistics Estonia collects and analyses accommodation data on behalf the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications with the aim to determine the economic situation in Estonia.
Accommodation providers positive going into holidays
Killu Maidla, executive manager of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association, said that tourism companies are feeling positive heading into Christmas and New Year's, this despite the fact that Russian tourists have been missing for years.
"We can say today that companies and friends are still keen on celebrating Christmas and New Year's as many events have been registered. While bookings were often made at the last minute, more popular venues have been sold out. We are not missing Russian tourists too much in the big picture, while there are regional differences," Maidla said, pointing to Ida-Viru County.
She also said that while Finnish New Year's tourist figures are still there, the Finns have never been too keen on celebrating it in Estonia. "The Finns have helped hotels fill December weekends. While we have not yet hit the pre-crisis level, we're getting there. What we're still missing are corporate trips, trainings and company outings. These used to fill workdays."
Reservations for next year are looking very positive, Maidla remarked, adding that Estonia is set to host tourism groups from near and far, as well as plenty of international conferences, which are a sector priority.
The head of the association believes Estonia should concentrate on advertising in nearby countries.
"This is also reflected in that bookings are short notice. There is little long-term planning to be seen, while things are not as last minute as they have been for the past few years. But for as long as decisions are made in the short term, we should concentrate on places that have direct links, easy access to Estonia."
The article was updated with comments from Killu Maidla, executive manager of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marcus Turovski