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Tourism is on the Rise in the Baltics Thanks to Ukrainians and Westerners

Last year, of the three Baltic countries, Latvia saw the largest growth in its tourism sector; it is believed that tourists came to Latvia thanks to the European Capital of Culture events that took place in Riga last year. Inbound tourism grew by 14.5 per cent in Latvia, 7.7 in Lithuania, and 2.2 per cent in Estonia. Local tourism grew in all three Baltic countries: a 13.2% increase in Latvia, 8.8% in Lithuania, and 6.1% in Estonia.

Tourist flows from Russia, however, have decreased in all three of the Baltic states. In Latvia, numbers of Russian tourists decreased by 4.1 per cent, and 9.6 in Estonia. Lithuania saw the preliminary predictions of the State Department of Tourism come true – the numbers of Russian tourists in 2014 decreased by 8.8 per cent.

Old Town of Vilnius, Lithuania
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Old Town of Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuania’s accommodation establishments hosted 2.4 million tourists, which is 8.2% more than in 2013. In 2014, the number of foreign tourists in the country’s accommodation establishments rose to 1.3 million, while the number of local tourists exceeded 1 million.

“Our preliminary prediction, that the losses in Russian tourists will be compensated for by increased [tourist] flows from Lithuania’s other important inbound tourism markets and the neighbouring Baltic states, came true. The first TOP 10 saw the Russian and Polish tourist markets plummet by 7.7%, while the largest increases were observed in Ukraine (up by 65.2%), Latvia (up 25.9%), the U.S. (up 24.8%) and Italy (up 16.9%).

We are also pleased by the results from Germany and Estonia. Last year we saw 9.1 percent more tourists from Germany, 13% more from Estonia, and also the unprecedented rise of the U.S. to the top 10 of Lithuania’s inbound tourism markets. Eastern markets did not see a slump either: “both the Ukrainian and Belarusian markets grew by 15.9 collectively,” said head of the State Tourism Department Jurgita Kazlauskienė in reviewing last year’s tourism indexes.

In the second top 10, Israel came out on top; Lithuania saw twice as many tourists from this country as in 2013. The second place was secured by the Japanese (up by 44.1%). Tourism from Norway grew by 14.4%, by 11.6% from Sweden, 8.6% from Spain, and almost 7% from France and Denmark.

 

 

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