Summer was successful for hotels

According to Statistics Estonia, during the three summer months of 2011, for the first time more than one million foreign and domestic tourists stayed in accommodation establishments of Estonia. Compared to the previous summer, 14% more tourists used the services of accommodation establishments.

In summer 2011, 705,000 foreign tourists used the services of accommodation establishments of Estonia. The number of foreign tourists increased in all three summer months compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. The share of foreign tourists was continually slightly over two thirds of the total number of accommodated tourists. The majority of foreign tourists arrived in Estonia for a holiday trip and only 15% were on business trip. 474,000 foreign tourists or 67% of foreign tourists using the services of accommodation establishments stayed in accommodation establishments of Tallinn. 77,000 foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments of the summer capital Pärnu, of which three quarters came from Finland, while 4% of foreign tourists arrived from both Sweden and Russia. 40,000 tourists used the services of accommodation establishments of Saare county; nearly half of them were tourists from Finland, 14% from Latvia and 11% from Germany.

In the high season of tourism – in June, July and August – about 333,000 domestic tourists stayed in accommodation establishments, which is 11% more than during the last summer. During the three summer months more than half of domestic tourists accommodated during the eight months of 2011 stayed in accommodation establishments. 62% of accommodated domestic tourists were on holiday and 22% on a business trip. Most favoured destinations for domestic tourists are continually Harju and Pärnu counties, but tourists also like to stay in accommodation establishments of Ida-Viru and Saare counties.

In August, 1,075 accommodation establishments offered services for tourists. 343,000 tourists used the services of accommodation establishments, a third of them were domestic tourists. 20,800 rooms and 47,700 beds were available for tourists. The room occupancy rate was 55% and the bed occupancy rate 47%. The room occupancy rate was considerably higher than the average in the accommodation establishments of Tallinn and Pärnu.

The average cost of a guest night in an accommodation establishment was 28 euros being one euro more expensive compared to August 2010.


Accommodation by regions, August 2011
Accommodation Total N
Accommodation establishments 1 075 200 60 103 386 326
Rooms 20 823 8 360 1 261 1 275 5 775 4 152
Beds 47 723 17 647 2 896 3 262 13 912 10 006
Room occupancy rate, % 55 73 46 39 45 39
Bed occupancy rate, % 47 65 42 33 39 32
Tourists accommodated 342 756 185 333 15 273 15 747 75 070 51 333
Nights spent 689 026 353 789 37 399 32 868 166 864 98 106
residents of Estonia 218 797 45 657 19 973 24 800 62 825 65 542
foreign visitors 470 229 308 132 17 426 8 068 104 039 32 564
Av. cost of guest night, euros 28 33 24 19 27 20


Source: Statistics Estonia

Juku toy store chain could go bankrupt

Investment company Da Vinci Invest is seeking to declare Jukat Eesti, the owner of Juku toy store chain, bankrupt, writes Äripäev.

„What else can you do if the second party responds after 1.5 years since receiving the initial claim that the company’s all shares and goods are pledged to the bank and we have no money,“ says Andrus Braunbrück, owner of Da Vinci Invest.

According to Braunbrück, Jukat may have debts of around 70,000 euros.

In May it was reported that the Juku chain of toy stores had been sold to Lihuanian company MV Trading. It is believed that the sale price may have been around a million euros.

Read more: BBN

Foreign trade deficit was 56 MEUR in August

According to Statistics Estonia, in August 2011, exports from Estonia amounted to 1.0 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.1 billion euros at current prices. If in July the annual growth of exports and imports was by 34% and 38%, respectively, then in August exports grew by 45% and imports by 42%.

The foreign trade deficit was 56 million euros (54 million euros in August 2010). The trade surplus was mentioned in Estonia’s trade with the three biggest export destination countries (Sweden, Finland and Russia) or exports to those countries exceeded imports. The biggest trade surplus was registered in trade with Russia (83 million euros).

The first place among the destination countries of exports was held by Sweden (17% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Finland (16%) and Russia (14%). Electrical equipment and wood and articles of wood were mainly exported to Sweden, electrical equipment and furniture to Finland, mechanical and electrical equipment to Russia. Compared to August of the previous year, exports increased the most to Sweden and Russia (by 68 and 53 million euros, respectively).

The largest amounts of goods were imported from Finland (13% of Estonia’s total imports), followed by Sweden and Latvia (11% both). Electrical equipment was mostly imported from Finland and Sweden, fuels from Latvia. Compared to August of the previous year, the arrivals of goods from Lithuania and Sweden increased the most (by 56 and 30 million euros, respectively).

In August, the biggest shares in exports were held by machinery and equipment (31% of Estonia’s total exports), mineral products (incl. motor spirits, fuel oils and electricity) (12%), and metals and products thereof (9%). The growth in exports was mostly influenced by the dispatches of machinery and equipment that grew by nearly twice (91%) compared to August 2010. The growth in exports was also influenced by the increase in the dispatches of metals and products thereof and mineral products (32% and 29%, respectively).

In August the biggest shares of imports were held by machinery and equipment (28% of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products (16%), and agricultural products and food preparations (10%). Compared to August 2010, the growth of total imports was also influenced the most by the arrivals of machinery and equipment, which increased by 65%. The growth of imports was also influenced by the increase in the arrivals of raw materials and products of chemical industry and the arrivals of mineral products (61% and 28% respectively).

Compared to July, exports of goods in August increased by 11% and imports by 8%. The monthly growth in exports was mainly influenced by the increase in the dispatches of machinery and equipment. The growth in imports was mainly influenced by the increase in the arrivals of raw materials and products of chemical industry.

In August, export prices grew by 10% and import prices by 12% compared to the same month of the previous year.

Estonia’s trade by months, 2008–2011

Diagram: Estonia’s trade by months, 2008–2011

Read more from Statistics Estonia

President for second term

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who was re-elected for a second term as Estonian president in late August, will be sworn in today.

Ilves, 57, has led the country since October 2006. Estonia’s president is elected for a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms.

In line with Estonian law, the president is elected by Parliament. A total of 72 out of 101 lawmakers supported Ilves’ candidacy in the August 29 vote, with a required minimum of 68 votes.

Read more from BBN

Office of the President

Head of land board in bribe scandal

Kalev Kangur, head of the country’s land board, may have received 7.8 million kroons or half a million euros in bribes for allowing preferred businessmen to swap land that they owned in nature protection areas with valuable development land in large cities, mainly Tallinn.

According to the prosecutor, Kangur and the former minister of environmental affairs Villu Reiljan made sure that such prominent businessmen as Toomas Annus, main shareholder of the region’s largest construction group Merko, Tullio Liblik, Einar Vettus and Tarmo Pedjasaar were able to complete such land swaps.

Read more from BBN

BBC on the Estonian economy

In its programme The World Tonight, BBC looked at what Estonia, currently the fastest economic growth in the EU, is doing right when other nations are in so much financial trouble?

Estonia as the country has come a long way since it joined the EU in 2004.
An initial influx of credit led to a construction boom and soaring house prices, but the bubble burst in 2008 and when the country found itself in the financial doldrums, it was forced to smarten up its act.

Labour laws were liberalised, the retirement age increased and public spending cut. But taxes stayed low to encourage business; trendy entrepreneurs were born.
Estonia’s GDP grew by 8.5% in the first quarter of the year, the fastest growth of any EU economy. One of the biggest growth areas is technology. Estonia exports mainly to the EU, but exports to its major markets, Finland and Sweden are declining.

Read more from BBN

Best places for women to live

Newsweek/The Daily Beast analyzed dozens of data points for 165 countries to determine which countries offer women the most expansive rights and the best quality of life.

Estonia scores 28. position with overall score (out of 100): 83.5
Justice: 73.1
Health: 90.8
Education: 96.3
Economics: 83.7
Politics: 53.2

Source: The Daily Beast

6000 NGOs established in 4 years

During the last four years around 6 000 new nonprofit organisations have been established in Estonia, it appears from the report of the civic initiative support development plan 2007-2010 presented to the government on Thursday.

In the Interior Ministry’s judgement, civil society has developed faster and is more active in Estonia than in other Eastern European countries.

The report shows that at the beginning of 2007 there were 24 164 NGOs registered in Estonia but by the beginning of this year their number had risen to 31 208, the ministry said.

The establishment of the National Foundation of Civil Society in 2008 was an important step towards enhancing the capability of NGOs, said Regional Affairs Minister Siim Kiisler, who introduced the report to the government. Through it around 4.4 million euros has been invested in the development of civic initiative in support to more than 250 projects.

The report also highlighted the increase in activities aimed at boosting engagement, which have made the co-operation and exchange of information between government agencies and NGOs broader and more systematic.

Source: Estonian Review

Households spend 3 pct of budget on culture

According to Statistics Estonia, households spent 230 euros, or three percent of their income, on culture in 2010.

The biggest share of the households’ expenditures on culture are to printed products and other such expenditures (equipment etc). On both of these spheres households spend an average of 86 euros a year or 37 percent of all the expenditures on culture. Expenditures on audiovisual art and music follow with an average of 37 euros a year; expenditures on live performances (average 15 euros a year) and visual arts (average five euros a year) coming next. The smallest share is made up by residents’ expenditures on museum and exhibition tickets (about two euros a year).

The share of the Estonians’ expenditures on culture is similar to the average indicator for the European Union (four percent). The expenditures on culture are the highest in Denmark, Finland and in the Czech Republic, where they account for five percent of the households’ total expenditures. Also Latvia and Poland are ahead of Estonia, while countries such as Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Belgium remain behind Estonia in terms of expenditures on culture.

If generally the expenditures on culture are showing a rising trend, then there are some differences in the expenditures of some museum and exhibition tickets, or on cultural heritage. These expenditures were small and more irregular until the year 2006 when the KUMU art museum was opened. This gave a considerable impetus to museum visits and accordingly to the expenditures made.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonia ranks 29th in IT competitiveness

Estonia ranks 29th in this year’s IT Industry Competitiveness Index, down six notches from last year.

At the top of the index is the United States, followed by Finland and Singapore. Latvia placed 34th, Lithuania 41st and Russia 46th.

The IT Industry Competitiveness Index was created for the Business Software Alliance by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It compares 66 countries on the extent to which they are capable of supporting a strong IT production sector on the basis of 26 indicators.

The first such index was produced in 2007.

Source: Estonian Review