Tourism in May 2023 was up 7 percent on the previous year, state agency Statistics Estonia reports, with around 265,000 people staying in hotels and other accommodation businesses during that month.
At the same time, full recovery to pre-pandemic levels has not been reached; that the number of foreign tourists rose while the figure for domestic tourists fell, on year to May, suggests that recovery is on its way.
Commenting on the results of studies conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Helga Laurmaa, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said: "The number of foreign tourists did not yet reach the pre-pandemic level, and it was nearly a third lower than in May 2019. However, compared with May 2022, the number of foreign tourists increased by 21 percent."
A total of 141,000 foreign tourists were accommodated in Estonia in May.
Meanwhile, the number of domestic tourists decreased for the second month in a row – down 5 percent in April and 6 percent in May, compared with the corresponding months in 2022.
On the other hand, there were 12 percent more domestic tourists than in May 2019, the last month of May prior to the Covid pandemic.
The pandemic saw a surge in domestic tourism as travel restrictions often prevented Estonian citizens and residents from travelling abroad. Those same restrictions led to a dramatic drop in the number of foreign visitors to Estonia.
Foreign tourism in Estonia on year to May 2023 quick facts (Source: Statistics Estonia).
- Foreign tourists spent a total of 287,000 nights in Estonia
- 72 percent of foreign tourists were vacationing; 22 percent were travelling for business purposes.
- Compared with May 2022, there were more tourists from many European countries as well as from countries outside of Europe. 60,000 tourists came from Finland, while roughly 19,000 tourists from Latvia were accommodated.
- The number of arrivals from both countries was higher than in May last year.
- More accommodated tourists also came from Germany, Lithuania, the U.K., Sweden, the U.S., Poland, and many Asian states.
- 73 percent of the foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments in Harju County, the most populous region of Estonia and which includes Tallinn, followed by Estonia's summer capital, Pärnu (10 percent), Estonia's second city, Tartu (7 percent), and then Saaremaa, also a popular summer destination (3 percent).
- Ida-Viru County hosted 2 percent of the total. Lääne, Lääne-Viru, Valga, Viljandi and Võru counties each accommodated 1 percent of the total number foreign tourists.
- 1,063 accommodation businesses served visitors in Estonia in May 2023.
- 52,000 bed places across 22,000 rooms were available for guests, while room occupancy stood at 44 percent.
- The average cost of a guest night stood at €49 per person, up €6 on the price for May 2022 (and also for May 2019).
- The average cost of an overnight stay per person stood at €55 in Harju County, €52 in Lääne-Viru County, €49 in Tartu County, €45 euros in Ida-Viru County, €41 in Pärnu County and €34 on Saaremaa. The average cost of overnight accommodation grew in most of these counties.
Domestic tourism in Estonia on year to May 2023, quick facts (source: Statistics Estonia)
- Nearly 124,000 domestic tourists stayed in accommodation establishments in May, 64 percent of whom were on vacation; 27 percent were on business trips.
- In total, domestic tourists spent nearly 209,000 nights in accommodation establishments in Estonia.
- The largest share (more than a third) of domestic tourists again came in Harju County. A total of 13 percent were hosted in Pärnu County, 10 percent in Ida-Viru County, and 9 percent in Tartu County. Six percent of domestic tourists stayed overnight on Saaremaa, 5 percent in accommodation businesses in Lääne-Viru County, and 5 percent in Valga County.
Editor: Andrew Whyte