Sector sees war and price hikes behind tourist shortage in Estonia

A temporary park was opened in Tallinn's Old Town on Friday (June 2, 2023).
A temporary park was opened in Tallinn's Old Town on Friday (June 2, 2023). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The summer is here as is peak tourist season, while foreign tourist figures nevertheless remain modest in Estonia. Sector businesses blame the war in Ukraine and Estonia's high level of prices.

While there has been some recovery in tourism, we are still short of the pre-coronavirus level, suggested Madis Laid, executive manager of Duco Hotels that runs three establishments in Tallinn.

"Looking at Tallinn, we are around 13 percent behind the level in 2019. There is recovery, we can see tourists in the Old Town, while the pace of the recovery has not been fast enough," Laid said.

Jekaterina Perehhoda, manager of the Beer House restaurant and bar in Tallinn's Old Town, said that tourist figures are down 30 percent on year.

"We are only seeing European tourists today. None from Asia or America, just European tourists," Perehhoda said.

Laid said that there are also fewer tourist groups, from Germany and Western Europe for example. "This predisposition is caused by the war. Feelings of security have been compromised and tourists pick other destinations than Estonia," the hotel manager said.

Perehhoda said that prices in Estonia make for another reason. But tourists who spoke to "Aktuaalne kaamera" news were not too shocked by the price level, which also depends on where one is from.

"The prices are not too high compared to Spain. For example, it is possible to buy dinner for €15-20, while it's €20-30 in Spain," Juan from Spain said.

"London is hugely expensive. So it is cheaper than in London. We just ate, and a properly sized breakfast-lunch cost around €26. I believe that this would cost 30 percent more in London, maybe even 40-50 percent," British tourist Ben said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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