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
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