The island of Hiiumaa needs better, less expensive regular transport links with the Estonian mainland, President Alar Karis says.
"Hiiumaa is a place which attracts guests both from Estonia and further afield. Hiiumaa people (Estonian: Hiidlased-ed.) themselves say that Hiiumaa is that place where you can learn to really relax and just hang out," the president said earlier in the week, according to a press release.
The head of state had been on an official two-day visit to Estonia's second-largest island, permanent population around 9,500 (with a density of less than 10 per square km, low even for Estonia), and while he praised the ferry service connecting the island to the mainland, he questioned the extent to which the state-owned shipping line needed to make such profits that it does, via high fares.
Better and cheaper connections are needed to keep life and business on the island going, President Karis added, extending this requirement to internet services also.
The president met with the island's municipal leaders, tourism promoters and entrepreneurs, all of whom cited connections between the island and the mainland as a significant issue.
ETV's "Terevisioon" morning show also broadcast from the island Monday morning.
The head of TS Laevad, which serves Hiiumaa, Saaremaa and Muhu, recently mooted the idea of allowing ferry sales for cars and their occupants only, in other words removing the option for tickets on sale to travelers on foot.
The Transport Administration (Transpordiamet) has also said that a new tender for the island's flight link should be done in a way not to disrupt the service.
NyxAir has the current tender, having replaced Transavia.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia.