TALLINN – The Estonian tourism sector must possess a network, competence and necessary people to be able to move forward after the crisis, when the world opens up again, and therefore it's essential that the ecosystem that has been created is preserved, Estonia's Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT Andres Sutt said on Friday.
The minister had a video meeting on Friday with the sectoral associations and industry organizations of the Estonian tourism sector. The aim of the get acquainted meeting was to map out areas of cooperation and discuss how the state could help the sector under the conditions of the economic crisis.
"During the meeting, we went through the burning topics and also discussed the long-term view as to the sector's vision of its own situation after the crisis and where they would need support and help from the state in catching up for life to be restored to normal," Sutt said.
The minister said that while no specific decisions have been made yet as regards supporting the tourism sector, neither when it comes to the use of EU external funds nor crisis relief funds, the support directed towards the sector must be oriented to the future.
"The current crisis provides the possibility to make the tourism industry stronger and smarter, in order for businesses to be more resilient and jobs to be preserved," Sutt said.
The minister said that the pre-crisis global situation will not be restored, which is why also the principles of supporting the sector must be different from the ones applied last spring.
"I am in unanimity with the sector on that we must move towards novel solutions, in which product development and new business models play a bigger role. It is only in this way that we will be competitive internationally," Sutt added.
Ain Kapp, chairman of the management board of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association, said that tourism is a branch of the industry which reflects the country's identity and it could be our national pride.
"Our wish is to make a contribution together towards the sector being able again to bring two billion export euros into the country and make its significant contribution towards the good of the Estonian economy. It is for this reason that it's important to support businesses and the people under the current conditions of crisis in order for the possibility for tourism to recover to be preserved," Kapp added.
It was agreed that the minister and officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will have meetings with the sector's associations and organizations on a regular basis to together discuss topical issues.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association, the Estonian Travel and Tourism Association, the Estonian Convention Bureau, the Estonian Spa Association, the Estonian Nature Tourism Association, Tallinn Airport, the Estonian Tourist Board of Enterprise Estonia, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.