Passenger numbers on the Helsinki-Pärnu flight route were down by a third on year to this summer, according to preliminary indications, in part due to the economic situation in Finland and elsewhere, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday.
While more Finnish tourists visited the Southwest Estonian City of Pärnu this summer than in 2022, overall tourism is still around a third lower than it was before the Covid pandemic.
Pärnu's spa centers and hotels say this summer has been average, though the same cannot be said of passenger numbers on the direct flight route to and from Helsinki.
Andrus Aljas, manager at Estonian spa hotels, told AK: "Last year, the entire season occupancy of the flight line stood at around 60 percent, whereas this summer it has been around 40 percent."
"We flew about a thousand Finns to Pärnu in a short period of time, so we certainly did not fail. In order for Finns to fly the Pärnu-Helsinki flight line – to find out about it and to start using it – you have to work very hard," Aljas went on.
Tervis spa group manager Jaan Ratnik says that his company has seen a comparable number of visitors as was seen last year, although an exact estimate will have to wait to year-end.
But considering the general situation, there is no real reason to complain, he said.
Ratnik said: "This whole region of ours, not only Estonia, but important neighbors from the point of view of tourism: Latvia, Finland, Sweden, have all essentially reached economic depression. The Euribor affects all markets very strongly, and unfortunately the war in Ukraine is still behind this. In this context, there is not much to complain about. We got through this summer."
A little more was expected from the Helsinki-Pärnu flight line, Andrus Aljas noted.
Another factor alongside the economy is demographics, Aljas noted – the older generation of Finnish seniors who liked traveling to Pärnu for the summer is dying out, while at the same time, budget airlines like Ryaniair have been aggressively campaigning in the Finnish market and opening up new routes from Helsinki, to locations other than Pärnu or Estonia.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja
Source: 'Aktuaalna kaamera', reporter Ester Vilgats.