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Conference attendees biggest spenders among visitors to Estonia

The growing number of four or five-star hotels has supported the increase in business visitors, Enterprise Estonia said.
The growing number of four or five-star hotels has supported the increase in business visitors, Enterprise Estonia said. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

According to a survey by Statistics Estonia, people attending conferences are the biggest spenders among all visitors, bringing in an average €1,000 a visit.

Tourists arriving by plane typically spend €400 on average, those arriving by boat €300, and people travelling by car some €200, the survey states. This is much less than what conference attendees bring in, who on average spend €1,000 a visit.

As Enterprise Estonia's Annely Vürmer explained to ERR, the amount people spend is closely connected to the way they travel: "Plane trips are longer compared to car or boat trips, which is why people travelling by air typically go for a longer stay, which again means that they spend more," Vürmer said.

She added that the data isn't new, but dates back to surveys carried out in 2015 and 2016.

Conference attendees' comfort level higher, hence more expensive trips

Vürmer also explained that conference attendees spend more because at three to five nights spent their average stay is longer, and tend to stay in more expensive hotels than other visitors.

They eat in more expensive restaurants and to some extent also participate in other leisure activities, such as day trips and the like.

The basis for the growth in business tourism according to Estonia is the availability of conference centres, a sufficient number of hotels that fit the usual four or five-star category preferred by business travellers, and better flight connections.

Foreign tourists spend €1.2 billion in Estonia in 2017

Foreign tourists making more than six million visits to the country are estimated to have spent approximately €1.2 billion in Estonia last year, three percent more than 2016, according to the Bank of Estonia.

The number of foreign visitors to Estonia was up three percent in 2017, when more than six million visits were made to Estonia, according to a Thursday morning press release from the central bank.

Although still accounting for 35 percent of all visitors, the number of tourists from Finland was down to a ten-year low of five percent last year. The number of visitors from other EU countries, however, was up by ten percent. Notable increases of 54 and 20 percent, respectively, were recorded in the number of visits from Belgium and the U.K., which could be associated in part with Estonia's presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2017.

Number of tourists from Asian countries on the rise

The number of tourists from Asian countries has continued to rise, reaching an all-time record of five percent of all visitors in 2017, with total numbers increasing fivefold over the past decade.

There were some 900,000 visits from Russia to Estonia, indicating a four-percent increase compared to 2016 numbers. Slightly fewer visitors, meanwhile, came from other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries; a substantial drop of one third was recorded in the number of visits to Estonia by Belarusians.

Three percent more overnight visitors to Estonia were registered last year than the year before, with the average overnight traveler staying for 4.2 days. Daytrips accounted for 47 percent of visits.

Overall, foreign tourists are estimated to have spent some €1.2 billion in Estonia, three percent more than in 2016. Estonian exports of travel services were also estimated at €1.4 billion in 2017, 70 percent more than a decade ago.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: ERR, Statistics Estonia

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