Estonian bus line operator Lux Express carried close to 20,000 passengers from Estonia cities to St. Petersburg during the Christmas and New Year holidays, a 7% increase year-on-year (y-o-y).
The holiday season (20 December 2018-13 January 2019) itself saw a 30% rise on the preceding period, Lux says, with passengers from Latvia, the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway and Germany making up significant proportions of those travelling from Estonia to Russia's second city, in addition to those from Estonia and Russia.
The largest y-o-y increase was observed among UK and Norwegian nationals, at 144% and 55% respectively, though the number of German nationals traveling with Lux Express decreased 39% over the same period, the company states.
The number people making the reverse trip also rose, with Russian tourists traveling to Estonia to celebrate the holidays choosing not only Tallinn, but also Tartu, Pärnu and Haapsalu as well as towns in Ida-Viru County, as their destination.
Anticipating the increase, Lux laid on 43 additional services on its Tallinn-St. Petersburg route, Rait Remmel, CEO of ZAO Evrolains, a Russian subsidiary of Lux Express, said, according to a press release.
Mr Remmel said that in addition to European-origin tourists, Lux Express also saw holiday passengers from Cuba, Brazil and Paraguay.
Lux Express is part of the Mootor Grupp AS group of companies and operates in seven European countries. The company services bus lines between Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw and Minsk.
Its regular year-round schedule sees up to 110 departures in both directions on the St. Petersburg-Tallinn-St. Petersburg route, per week, the company says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte