Tartu hotel occupancy still not recovered to pre-pandemic levels

Hotel. Source: EBU/ERR

Tourism to Estonia's second-biggest city Tartu has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. Only 6 percent of the tourists who visit the country travel to south Estonia and hotels want to build on this in the future.

Last year, Tartu saw a 27 percent rise in tourism compared to 2021 - the highest increase for three years. However, the majority were domestic tourists.

There are few foreign visitors in Tartu, said Annika Ojasaar, head of Tartu County Tourism.

"Only 6 percent of the guests who stayed last year reached Tartu. This is actually quite low compared to the total in Estonia," she told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

Pallas and Sophia hotels manager Verni Loodmaa said there has been a slight increase since the pandemic.

However, price rises have been unavoidable.

"Input price increases have been very high, but it is regrettable to have to admit that we have not been able to factor all this into our selling prices because the market is simply not ready to absorb such rapid price increases," Loodmaa said.

Hotel Soho's Annegret Nõgene said occupancy has not returned to the pre-pandemic level. Prices have also risen, but, Nõgene said, customers have not been scared away.

"Hotel room prices have gone up by about 5 percent, not more. The Tartu market in general, according to inputs, has not increased its prices much," said Nõgene.

The sector is hoping more tourists visit the city when it becomes EU capital of culture next year.

"In 2024, we hope that at least 10 percent of foreign tourists visiting Estonia will come here," said Ojasaar, adding marketing campaigns in target markets will help.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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