More Estonians visited Latvia last year than Finland, for the first time in many years, it has been reported by statistics Estonia (stat.ee).
According to the stat.ee data, in 2017 a total of 1.3 million trips which involved at least one overnight stay were made by Estonian residents, close to half of which (606,000) were to neighbouring states.
Latvia topped the table, with Finland in second place, followed by Russia, Sweden and Lithuania.
Sales of alcoholic beverages in Latvia have grown in recent months since the introduction of an excise hike in Estonia, with border towns such as Valka proving popular with Finnish visitors as well as Estonians.
Estonia also popular with Latvians
The reverse was however also the case, with Estonia proving a popular destination for Latvians as well. According to Latvian data, 173 000 of its residents had an overnight stay whilst on a trip to Estonia, which represents 14% of the total of such trips amongst Latvians, and over a third of trips to neighbouring countries.
So far as Estonian travellers go, more than half of their overnight trips have been made during the summer.
The breakdown in terms of lengths of overnight stays was: 1-3 night stays made up almost half of the total, about a third of the total stayed for 3-7 nights and the remainder, longer than 7 nights.
From a broader European perspective, Estonia is on a par with Malta for numbers of overnight stays made per capita, though this is from data from 2016, with a little over 100 overnight stays made per 100 persons (roughly one per person), and somewhat higher than the EU average of around 70 (see diagram below).
Perhaps unsurprisingly given its size, Luxembourg topped the table at nearly 350, with Finland in second place with 200.
Obviously not every single Estonian resident made an overnight stay in 2017, but totalling up the overall number of nights stayed (1.3 million as noted) equates to an average of about one per person in Estonia, given the population is around 1.3 million.
Overnight stays per 100 residents, 2016
Source: Eurostat via Statistics Estonia
Estonians spent an average of €556 per trip according to the data, which was significantly higher than the figure for Latvia (€341). One possible explanation for this is the service provided by Air Baltic which has direct cheaper flights from Riga to a much wider range of destinations than can be had from Tallinn Airport. The highest amount of money spent per capita came from France, whose travellers spent an average of over €1,000 per trip.
Statistics Estonia is a government agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance. Its main role is to provide public institutions, business and research circles, international organisations and individuals with reliable and objective information on the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation and trends in Estonia.
Editor: Andrew Whyte