New conference centre may become part of Tallinn Airport

The new multifunctional conference centre that the state wants to complete by 2018 when Estonia holds EU Presidency could be located in Ülemiste City and be made part of Tallinn Airport which is close by, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

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Hotels against proposal to increase VAT

Estonian tourism sector does not support a proposal made in the course of coalition negotiations to raise the value added tax (VAT) applicable to accommodation services from 9 percent to the universal VAT rate of 20 percent applied in Estonia.

Of the 28 member states of the European Union only four do not apply a lower VAT rate to accommodation services. Their number will decrease further in 2015 because Lithuania has decided to impose lower VAT rate on accommodation services.

Feliks Mägus, board member of Nordic Hotel Forum, said changing the VAT rate would have a negative effect on the whole tourism sector.

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Frankfurt is the most popular destination from Tallinn Airport

Frankfurt, Germany, was the most popular city for travellers flying out of Tallinn Airport last year, narrowly beating Helsinki.

Both cities received around 12 percent of Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport’s passengers, uudised.err.ee reported on Wednesday. Riga (11 percent), Oslo, London, Moscow and Copenhagen (all 7 percent) followed.

The total passenger number decreased by 11 percent to slightly less than two million, mostly due to Estonian Air’s downsizing of its operations.

Estonian Air was the most popular carrier, catering to 28 percent of all passengers, followed by Ryanair (15 percent), Lufthansa, Finnair and airBaltic (10 percent each).

Nearly half of all passengers were traveling on business, with 30 percent going to or arriving from a holiday. Fifteen percent were visiting friends or relatives.

Two-thirds of travellers were Estonians, with Sweden and Russia (both 5 percent) and the UK and Germany (both 4 percent) the next highest nationalities.

Source: ERR / Estonian Review

Estonians travelled more widely in 2013

In 2013 there were a total of 6 million visits to Estonia by foreigners, while Estonian residents visited foreign countries a total of 3.7 million times. The number of foreign visitors was 13% higher than a year earlier, while the number of journeys by Estonian residents fell by 4%*. Preliminary flash estimates show that non-residents consumed over one billion euros of goods and services in Estonia, while Estonians travelling abroad spent less than 700 million euros there.

The largest growth in inbound travel was of 35% in the number of visitors from Russia, who made more than one million visits to Estonia altogether and accounted for 18% of the total. Russian tourists also came to Estonia in the off-season in the first and fourth quarters, when accommodation providers have fewer clients. The number of visitors to Estonia from Finland* increased by 15% and the number from Latvia by 12%, but the numbers of visitors from most European Union countries, such as the United Kingdom, Italy or Spain, fell.

Altogether 48% of all the visitors took overnight accommodation in Estonia and the average length of a multi-day stay was 4 days.

Estonian residents made 3.8 million visits to foreign countries, though as one trip might include visits to several countries the actual number of separate trips made is significantly smaller. The travel choices of Estonian residents were noticeably different to those of 2012. There was a fall of 9% in the number of trips to Finland and of 8% in trips to Sweden, if Estonians having residency in those countries are excluded, while the number of trips to Russia was down by 15%. At the same time, there was a rise of 4% in the number of trips to Latvia and of 5% in those to other EU countries including Croatia, which was a member of the EU in the second half of the year. There was also a change in the countries preferred by Estonians for holidays, with Spain entering the top ten in ninth place and Poland in seventh, and major increases in the number of trips to Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary. Some previously popular holiday destinations have lost their attractiveness and the number of trips to Egypt has fallen steadily since 2009 and by two thirds in total. The number of trips to Turkey and Thailand increased until 2011, after which it started to fall.

The average trip by Estonians lasted 4 days, which was 9% more than in 2012.

Eesti Pank uses the statistics on foreign travel gained from mobile positioning data in calculating the exports and imports of travel services for the Balance of Payments items. In comparisons with previous years, statistics on the EU cover the countries that were members of the EU at that time. Final figures for purchases and sales of travel services will be published with the Balance of Payments on 11 March.

* The method used for the Balance of Payments considers Estonians who live and work abroad long-term as foreign visitors. They are shown in the international travel statistics as non-residents.

Read more from  Bank of Estonia website

Estonians travelled more widely in 2013

In 2013 there were a total of 6 million visits to Estonia by foreigners, while Estonian residents visited foreign countries a total of 3.7 million times. The number of foreign visitors was 13% higher than a year earlier, while the number of journeys by Estonian residents fell by 4%*. Preliminary flash estimates show that non-residents consumed over one billion euros of goods and services in Estonia, while Estonians travelling abroad spent less than 700 million euros there.

The largest growth in inbound travel was of 35% in the number of visitors from Russia, who made more than one million visits to Estonia altogether and accounted for 18% of the total. Russian tourists also came to Estonia in the off-season in the first and fourth quarters, when accommodation providers have fewer clients. The number of visitors to Estonia from Finland* increased by 15% and the number from Latvia by 12%, but the numbers of visitors from most European Union countries, such as the United Kingdom, Italy or Spain, fell.

Altogether 48% of all the visitors took overnight accommodation in Estonia and the average length of a multi-day stay was 4 days.

Estonian residents made 3.8 million visits to foreign countries, though as one trip might include visits to several countries the actual number of separate trips made is significantly smaller. The travel choices of Estonian residents were noticeably different to those of 2012. There was a fall of 9% in the number of trips to Finland and of 8% in trips to Sweden, if Estonians having residency in those countries are excluded, while the number of trips to Russia was down by 15%. At the same time, there was a rise of 4% in the number of trips to Latvia and of 5% in those to other EU countries including Croatia, which was a member of the EU in the second half of the year. There was also a change in the countries preferred by Estonians for holidays, with Spain entering the top ten in ninth place and Poland in seventh, and major increases in the number of trips to Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary. Some previously popular holiday destinations have lost their attractiveness and the number of trips to Egypt has fallen steadily since 2009 and by two thirds in total. The number of trips to Turkey and Thailand increased until 2011, after which it started to fall.

The average trip by Estonians lasted 4 days, which was 9% more than in 2012.

Eesti Pank uses the statistics on foreign travel gained from mobile positioning data in calculating the exports and imports of travel services for the Balance of Payments items. In comparisons with previous years, statistics on the EU cover the countries that were members of the EU at that time. Final figures for purchases and sales of travel services will be published with the Balance of Payments on 11 March.

* The method used for the Balance of Payments considers Estonians who live and work abroad long-term as foreign visitors. They are shown in the international travel statistics as non-residents.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Author: Andres Kerge, Economist in the Statistics Department at Eesti Pank

A record number of tourists stayed in hotels last year

According to Statistics Estonia, 1.9 million foreign tourists and over a million domestic tourists used the services of accommodation establishments in 2013. The total number of tourists increased 5% compared to 2012.

As in previous years, foreign tourists accounted for nearly two thirds of the total number of tourists. In 2013, the number of foreign tourists who used the services of accommodation establishments increased by 4% compared to the previous year. 67% of the foreign tourists arrived from the neighbouring countries Latvia, Finland and Russia. The number of accommodated tourists from these countries increased by 5%, 8% and 14% respectively compared to the previous year. More tourists than in 2012 also arrived from Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The number of tourists from several European countries decreased. At the same time, the number of tourists from Asian countries staying in accommodation establishments increased more than a quarter compared to the previous year.

In 2013, the number of domestic tourists staying in accommodation establishments was over one million for the first time. There were 8% more domestic tourists than in 2012. More than a half of the domestic tourists were on a holiday trip and 28% on a business trip. The most preferred destination was Tallinn: 17% of the domestic tourists using the services of accommodation establishments stayed there. 11% of the domestic tourists stayed in the accommodation establishments of Pärnu and 8% in those of Tartu.

In December 2013, 222,000 tourists – 140,000 foreign and 82,000 domestic tourists – stayed in accommodation establishments. Compared to December 2012, the number of foreign tourists increased 7% and the number of domestic tourists increased 4%. Nearly a half of the foreign tourists arrived from Finland, a quarter from Russia and 6% from Latvia. In December, 823 accommodation establishments offered services for tourists. 18,000 rooms and 39,000 beds were available for tourists. The room occupancy rate was 39% and the bed occupancy rate was 33%. The average cost of a guest night was 33 euros, which is two euros more than in December 2012.

Accommodation, 2010–2013
Indicator 2010 2011 2012 2013*
Number of tourists 2 401 763 2 725 937 2 839 895 2 980 865
residents of Estonia 837 811 918 018 966 376 1 040 735
foreign visitors 1 563 952 1 807 919 1 873 519 1 940 130
Number of nights spent 4 700 680 5 399 392 5 544 537 5 734 033
residents of Estonia 1 496 959 1 650 527 1 721 498 1 824 707
foreign visitors 3 203 721 3 748 865 3 823 039 3 909 326
Average cost of a guest night, euros 27 29 31 32

* The data for 2013 are preliminary

Source: Statistics Estonia

Number of spa visitors grew in 2013

In 2013 the number of visitors to Estonian spa hotels increased 3-7 percent on year.

“In all 2013 can definitely be considered successful in the Estonian spa field. Spa tourism grew like the whole tourism sector,” Jaan Ratnik, a member of the board of the Tervis Spaa Grupp, owner of a spa in Estonia’s western city Pärnu, told BNS. He added that in 2013 the spa enterprises of the Tervis Spaa Grupp welcomed 58,000 tourists staying overnight which is 7 percent more than in 2012.

In Värska Sanatoorium located in southeastern Estonia the number of people using its water park grew 6.4 percent and the number of tourists staying overnight increased 1 percent, spokesperson for the spa Nelly Must told BNS. At the same time the number of people staying at Tallinn’s Kalev Spa moved up 3.8 percent, director of the hotel Piret Betlem said.

Besides Estonians, the main visitors of Estonian spas are Russians and Finns.

Source: Estonian Review / BNS

Estonia is favourite destination of Finnish tourists

The number of visits to Estonia made by Finnish citizens increased 8 percent on year in the last quarter of 2013 to 813 000 passengers and Estonia is still the main travel destination of the Finnish, Statistics Finland reports.

On 60 percent of occasions, the Finnish tourists stayed overnight in Estonia, while one in four visits was a one day cruise and one in five visits was a cruise with an overnight stay on-board a ship. The most popular month for traveling was December, the statistics office said on Wednesday.

At the same time, 560 000 Finns visited Sweden and 230 000 travelled to Spain in 2013.

The results are based on a survey conducted by Statistics Finland in the course of which 5 500 people were interviewed.

Source: Estonian Review / BNS

Owner of Nimeta Baar demands an apology from City of Tallinn

Nimeta Management Ltd that owns and operates Nimeta Baar wants the Tallinn City Government to make a public apology for the statements made by Deputy Mayor Kalle Klandorf, writes Postimees.

In an interview to Kuku raadio last week Klandorf said that Nimeta Baar and its owners and managers are promoting rowdiness that is not typical for Estonia.

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Tallinn Airport served almost 2 million passengers in 2013

The 1 958 801 passengers served in 2013 mark an all-around positive year for the airlines, the passengers and the Airport alike. For Tallinn Airport, it is the second highest number of passengers of all time.

Although the number of passengers flying Estonian Air dropped by approximately 40% due to a change of course at the company, Finnair, Lufthansa and Air Baltic each, as well as Norwegian, LOT and FlyBe, grew on a year-on-year basis. A very good performance was delivered by Aeroflot, who has gained a dominant position on the Moscow route; however, charter traffic was strong as well.

Even though there were fewer flights than in the previous year, the decline in the number of passengers was smaller, -11%. Predominantly, the change occurred in terms of transit passengers, whose number contributed a third to the 2012 levels. The “average” plane weighed 38 tonnes, had 91 seats and carried 63 passengers, with scheduled flights booked to a 70% capacity on average.

Year-round, 20 routes were operated, with flights to Istanbul commenced by Turkish Airlines. By comparison, 2012 saw the operation of 21 lines year-round (of those, flights to Prague and Tartu ended), with the route network shrinking predominantly at the expense of seasonal and/or regional routes (for instance, to small cities in Finland). For the first time, Frankfurt rose to top the routes, with the third daily flight to be added by Lufthansa from the summer of 2014 further testifying to the role of that hub. Last December, Estonian Air began flights to Munich, which will continue through the end of the winter season.

Read more from Tallinn Airport website

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