Estonia's new tourism strategy aiming to surpass pre-crisis levels by 2025

  • 2022-01-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonia's national Tourism Strategy 2022-2025 aims to ensure that inbound tourism and the export of tourism services exceed the pre-crisis level in 2025.

The budget for the four-year program totals approximately 126.3 million euros.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications opted for four years as the length of the period covered by the strategy because, according to the ministry, it is difficult to make longer-term plans as the uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic continues. On the other hand, a short-term plan allows flexibility to introduce changes to the strategy as the situation evolves.

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) barometer, international tourism fell by an average of 73 percent globally in 2020 compared to 2019. In Estonia, overnight stays by foreign tourists fell by nearly 70 percent. The last time international tourism in Estonia was so low was in 1999 and 2000.

The strategy is based on the assumption that the pandemic will continue, but business and borders will not be closed down, with business tourism recovering more slowly. When setting goals, it is also necessary to take into account the general trends that are evolving globally, which affect visitor behavior and decision-making. Although the boundaries between target groups are blurring, the main focus of the strategy is on people traveling for nature, culture, food and business tourism purposes.

The main goal set in the strategy is to exceed the pre-crisis level of 2019, which was a successful year for the Estonian tourism sector, by the end of 2025. The goal is not to achieve the same number of overnight stays, but to increase export revenue through a longer duration of stays and higher average spending per visitor.

The plan foresees a recovery in overnight stays by domestic and international tourists to 6.8 million by 2025. However, the length of stay of foreign tourists in Estonia is expected to increase from 3.3 nights in 2019 to 3.9 nights in 2025. The average expenditure per trip by a foreign visitor is expected to rise from 255 euros to 331 euros.

Another important goal is to ensure a convenient connection with the main target markets. For that purpose, the number of regular routes from Tallinn Airport should increase to 50 during the year.

The target for the export of tourism services is set at 2.3 billion euros for 2025.

The activities to rebuild demand will be carried out using the message "Estonia. It's about time."