EU needs common travel warning system

The European Union needs a unified travel warning system as the warnings issued by individual member states are uneven and leave to be desired, member of the European Parliament for Estonia Urmas Paet says.

Paet turned to the European Commission drawing attention to the uneven character of travel warnings and risk assessments of EU countries and proposing a single EU-wide system.

Recent attacks against European tourists in Tunisia revealed the uneven character and shortcomings of the current travel warning systems, the Estonian MEP said. “All EU member states issue public travel warnings and risk assessments for travellers, but different countries have different systems and the overall picture is uneven,” he said.

Paet also said some tour operators do not take warnings seriously and continue to arrange package tours to countries and areas deemed unsafe. He therefore asked the Commission about the possibility of introducing a common travel warning system and whether observing travel warnings could be made mandatory for operators of package tours.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

There were 10 pct fewer visits to Estonia in 1st Q

There were 10% fewer visits to Estonia by non-residents in the first quarter than in the first quarter of 2014. The biggest change was in the number of tourists coming from Russia to Estonia, which was 140,000 lower than a year before. There was also a fall in the number of visits from Finland, but the numbers coming from Germany, the USA and China increased.

There were 3% fewer visits by Estonian residents to foreign countries than in the same quarter of the previous year. The number of multi-day trips was the same, but there were one tenth fewer single-day trips. The main reason for both falls was that there were 20,000 fewer visits to Finland than a year ago. There were also slightly fewer trips to other neighbouring countries than in the first quarter of last year.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Port of Tallinn might need 3rd cruise ship quay

While finding its quay capacity to be sufficient for the next five years, Port of Tallinn does not rule out the possibility that a third quay for cruise ships will have to be built in addition to the 421-meter quay Number 2 completed at the Old City Port last spring.

Ain Kaljurand, CEO of the state-owned port company, told BNS he believes that the present quays provide the company with sufficient capacity to accept all cruise ships that wish to come here in the next five years.

Tallinn is capable already now to accept all cruise ships that can enter the Baltic Sea.

“If necessary, we can build additional quay-meters, we haven’t locked ourselves out in that respect with what we’ve built so far,” Kaljurand said.

He said cruise operators have had good words to say about the investments made by Port of Tallinn in cruise ship quays.

“We have understood that this is necessary, as ships have become bigger and our previous infrastructure would not have enabled us to accept all ships and we would have had to refuse some arrivals. And when you refuse one arrival, a snowball effect will follow and at one point you have missed tens of ships perhaps just because you refused one ship,” he said.

While it’s difficult to offer any forecasts as regards developments on the cruise market, right now this sector is in stable development and the Baltic Sea remains a popular destination, according to Kaljurand. Despite the sanctions and global crisis in a sense, there has been no sign of s setback,” he said.

He said executives of the port who recently arrived from the world’s largest cruise fair in Miami described the situation of the cruise market as quite the opposite to a crisis. “The Baltic Sea is generally very attractive for cruise operators and passengers. The Baltic Sea is made attractive first and foremost by St. Petersburg, without St. Petersburg we would definitely be marginal in terms of market share,” Kaljurand said.

Port of Tallinn expects 490,000 cruise tourists and 292 cruise ships to visit the Estonian capital in 2015. For the cruise port of Saaremaa Island six ship calls have been booked involving about 3,500 passengers. Pullmantur, which uses Tallinn as turnaround port, has cut the number of turnarounds here to three this year from five in previous seasons.

Source: BNS via Estonian Review

Estonians travel more, but for shorter times

Foreign visitors made 6.2 million visits to Estonia in 2014, which is about 1% more than in 2013. Visitors from the European Union made 71% of these visits and the number of their visits was the same as in the previous year, and 39% of all visits were made by travellers from Finland. The European Union countries from which numbers of visitors increased the most were Germany, from where 17% more visitors came, and Portugal, which was up by 15%, while the number coming from Sweden fell by 12% and the number from Norway by 9%. Visits from Russia accounted for 18% of all visits and their numbers increased by 3% over the year, though there was a drop of 11% in the final quarter of the year.

The number of people visiting in 2014 from Japan was up by 47%, from Korea up by 28% and from China by 61% but despite this substantial growth, only 3% of all tourists came from Asian countries.

Around half of the visits to Estonia were for multiple days, and two thirds of those involved a stay with an accommodation service provider in Estonia. The average length of a multiple-day visit was 4.5 days, which was 8% longer than in 2013.

Estonian residents made 3.9 million trips to foreign countries in 2014, which was 5% more than in 20131. More than three quarters of these visits were to European Union countries, and 4% more such trips were made than a year earlier. One visit in four went to Finland, while there were around half a million visits to Latvia. The number of visits to Latvia increased for the fifth year in a row, while the number of visits by Estonian residents to Portugal was 44% higher than a year before.

More holidays were taken to Croatia, which received 23% more visits, and to Greece, which saw a rise of 31%. Having fallen in the previous year, the number of visits to the United Arab Emirates rebounded by 19% and the number to Thailand did so by 28%. The number of visits to Egypt has been falling for five years, and it fell again in 2014 by a further 11%, while India also received fewer visits, as the number fell for the second consecutive year and stood at one third less than in 2013. Ukraine received half as many visits as a year earlier.

Residents of Estonia made 7% more single day trips than a year earlier, and 30% of all visits were day trips. Multiple day visits by residents of Estonia lasted for an average of 4.6 days, which was slightly shorter than in the previous year.

1 The number of trips abroad and the number of foreign countries visited are not the same, as one trip abroad may include visits to several different countries.

More detailed information can be found on the Eesti Pank website under International travel statistics. The methodology for collecting International travel statistics was designed by researchers at Eesti Pank and the University of Tartu in partnership with OÜ Positium LBS. The mobile positioning data are collected and processed by OÜ Positium LBS, which gets the data from the telephone network operators in an anonymised form so as to protect fully the privacy of the telephone users. Statistical methods for the use, processing and presentation of the data do not permit identification of any individual telephone or user and comply with the law on personal data protection

Source: Bank of Estonia

Author: Tarass Snitsarenko, Eesti Pank Statistics Department

Over 3 million hotel tourists in 2014

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2014, more than 3 million domestic and foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments, which was 4% more than in 2013. The number of both foreign and domestic tourists increased.

In 2014, about 2 million foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments, which was 2% more than in 2013. 46% of the foreign tourists using the services of accommodation establishments arrived from Finland, 14% from Russia and 6% from both Latvia and Germany. Compared to 2013, the number of tourists arriving from Finland and Latvia has increased by 2% and 7%, respectively. Also, there was an increase in the number of accommodated tourists from Lithuania, Germany and the United Kingdom. The number of tourists arriving from Asian countries has increased throughout the entire year. One-tenth fewer tourists from Russia stayed in accommodation establishments than in 2013. More than a million domestic tourists stayed in accommodation establishments, which was 6% more than in 2013.

In December 2014, 218,000 domestic and foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments, which was 2% less than in December 2013. The number of domestic tourists increased 11% but that of foreign tourists decreased 9%. In December 2014, 127,000 foreign tourists stayed in accommodation establishments and, compared to December 2013, more tourists arriving from Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway and Germany used the services of accommodation establishments. Also, the number of tourists arriving from Asian countries increased. The number of tourists from two major tourism partner countries, Finland and Russia, decreased by 6% and 45%, respectively. In December 2014, 91,000 domestic tourists stayed in accommodation establishments.

In December 2014, 892 accommodation establishments offered services for tourists. 19,000 rooms and 42,000 beds were available for tourists. In December, the room occupancy rate was 37% and the bed occupancy rate was 30%. The average cost of a guest night was 35 euros, which is two euros more than in December 2013.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Ferry service between Sillamae and Ust-Luga reopens

After a five-month hiatus, ferry service between the Port of Sillamae in Northeast Estonia and the Russian port of Ust-Luga has been re-opened, reported ERR.

This is the only regular sea route between Estonia and Russia.The ferry that takes both cars and passengers aboard departures daily.

Read more from BBN

Saaremaa businesses eyeing 25 MEUR conference center

A group of businesspeople are planning to build a 25 million euro concert and conference venue in the capital of the Estonian island of Saaremaa and are hoping to raise the necessary money from local businesses and EU funds.

“Even though the planned center is not tangible reality yet, negotiations are under way and Saaremaa businesspeople have a firm intention of building a center for international events namely in Kuressaare or near it. The aim is to host at least 40 international conferences per year, which would bring the region some 12 million euros of additional revenue,” Tullio Liblik, member of the group, said in a press release.

The main hall of the multifunctional concert and conference center would have a capacity of 1,600 seats and an overall capacity of up to 4,390. In-between major conferences it would serve as a theater, a venue for concerts, exhibitions and receptions. In addition to the main hall the facility would have several smaller conference and rehearsal rooms as well as a planetarium.

Liblik said that while the decision about the location has yet to be made, several potential sites on Kuressaare’s fringes or just outside the city boundaries were being considered. The initial draft places the center on the shore of Poduste River near the Kuressaare golf center, with a view of the sea and Kuressaare Castle.

A competition for the architectural design will be held once the detailed plan has been approved, Saare County Governor Kaido Kaasik said.

Source: BNS via Estonian Review


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