Hotel rooms are almost sold out in Tartu for the opening weekend of the Capital of Culture launch at the end of the month. Thousands of spectators from Estonia and abroad are expected in the city.
On January 26, up to 20,000 people will gather on the banks of Emajõgi to watch the Capital of Culture 2024 opening ceremony, organizers believe.
"It's very challenging, it's on the Emajõgi River and it's the biggest event that's going to take place this year. I dare say it's one of the biggest events we've ever had in the city center," Tartu 2024 information and marketing manager Marili Vihmann told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".
Approximately 3,000 people will also attend the business festival Startup Day which is held a couple of days before the opening ceremony. The two events have brought a wave of bookings to Tartu hotels.
"In percentage terms, it can be said that there are 30 percent more bookings than a year ago. But the number of guests who eventually arrive is limited by the number of rooms and beds available," said Angela Järg, sales manager of the Dorpat and Lydia hotels.
"Since Tartu 2024 opened its events calendar, interest in Tartu has been growing. There is also growing interest from outside Tartu. But I wouldn't say that any date would be such that there would be no room for any more people in Tartu," she added.
Verni Loodmaa, board chairman of Pallas and Sophia hotels, said: "There will certainly be quite a lot of foreign visitors, as several delegations are also known to be arriving for this opening event. But there are also a lot of people involved, not only from Tartu, and they also need accommodation. So to speak, team members."
He said hotel prices are 1.5 times more expensive during the opening ceremony compared to normal prices.
Following the example of Rally Estonia, Tartu 2024 has also opened its website for homestays.
"We are calling on everyone to open their doors to visitors to the Capital of Culture, to put their room or apartment or part of their house on our website," said Vihmann.
"It does not make sense to build a [new] hotel only for a few events a year, but a homestay is an alternative where it is possible to stay," Loodmaa told AK.
As of January 8, six homestays were advertised on the website.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera