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Record breaking tourism for Estonia

28th March 2011 Print

Estonia attracted 34% more British and Irish visitors in January 2011, at the start of a year in which the Estonia’s capital city Tallinn is hosting over 7000 events as a European Capital of Culture and the country is marking 20 years since Soviet independence.

The numbers show a steady upwards growth in visitor numbers from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with January 2010 having already shown an increase of 13% over the previous year, compared with 2008 when tourism plummeted by 30% .

The UK & Ireland was the fifth largest source market for Estonia, after inbound tourism from Estonia’s neighbouring countries Finland, Russia, Latvia and Sweden. The number of British / Irish tourists – 2,300 – was 34% higher than a year ago, with two new RyanAir inaugural routes from London Luton and Edinburgh on 10th January contributing to the growth.

The total number of overseas visitors from all countries staying in accommodation establishments in Estonia was almost 88,000, an increase of 22% compared with January 2010 (source: Statistics Estonia). The number of bed nights was 208,000 (a 24% increase from a year ago), with British guests spending 5 271 nights in Estonian accommodation, 19% higher than January 2010, which in turn showed an increase of 10% over 2009, following a drop of 27% in January 2008, compared with 2007.

Estonia’s Director of Tourism, Tarmo Mutso, said “Tallinn is one of two European Capitals of Culture in 2011 and this is attracting a lot of interest in the city, not least as a result of the extensive media coverage we’ve had right across Europe. Tallinn is also benefitting from the new Ryanair flights. The company established a hub in Tallinn and opened five routes to Tallinn in December and two routes in January, including three from the UK and Ireland, with new direct flights from Dublin, Edinburgh and Luton and a fourth new route from East Midlands started on 1st January. In addition we’re delighted that easyJet are also extending their flying schedule with a new flight from Liverpool to Tallinn starting on 26th April to supplement the existing Stansted route”.

Estonia’s popularity for the Russians’ New Year holidays saw another successive increase. In January 2011 29,500 Russian tourists stayed at the hotels in Estonia, 55% more than January 2010 and three times as many as in 2008. The Nordic Junior and U23 World Ski Championships, the country's biggest-ever high-profile athletic competition to take place in Estonia (700 athletes from 38 countries) was staged in January in the southern Estonian town of Otepää. This contributed to the growth in tourism from Sweden and Norway.

The number of tourists from the Estonia’s largest inbound market, Finland, amounted to 32,400 visitors, a 2% increase on exceptionally strong figures in January 2010. Tourism from Latvia recovered after two weak years affected by the economic situation. The number of Latvian tourists amounted to 4,600 in January, an increase of 27% year on year, with the biggest increase in visitors to Tallinn.

Tarmo Mutso continued “Several new tourist attractions have been or will be opened this year in Tallinn, including the Viru Hotel KGB museum, the renovated Estonian History Museum and the Estonian Maritime Museum at the reconstructed Seaplane Harbour on Tallinn’s seafront. Together with the various new attractions that opened already in 2010 and the numerous events of the European Capital of Culture, they provide excellent conditions for the growth in inbound tourism which we expect to continue to increase in the coming months”

For information about Estonia, see: