RIGA - Taking into account the forthcoming opening of the internal borders of the Baltic States for the free movement of residents, hotels are starting to receive the first reservations from residents of the two neighboring countries, Janis Pinnis, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association, said in an interview on Latvian Radio on Thursday.
"It's like the first breath of fresh air," Pinnis said, noting that interest from neighboring residents is still low, but hotels have reason to start thinking about a partial reopening.
The president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association mentioned that the first guests from neighboring countries in Latvia are expected this weekend.
At the same time, Pinnis also emphasized that large volumes of visitors from neighboring countries to Latvia is not expected in the near future. ''This does not mean that the borders are open and there will be large numbers of people visiting us,'' he said.
The president of the association also compared the expected travel of Lithuanians and Estonians around Latvia with the movement of Latvians within the country. "Residents should not be afraid that tourists will come here now and carry diseases. (..) the epidemic situation in these countries is similar and being controlled in a similar way, so the travel of Lithuanians and Estonians here is similar to our own movement," said Pinnis.
He also pointed out that on average guests from Lithuania and Estonia make up about 20 percent of the annual guests served at Latvian hotels.
As reported, the Baltic states will open their internal borders for the free movement of residents of these countries on Friday, May 15. When moving between the Baltic states, residents of these countries will not be subject to a 14 day self-quarantine, while foreigners entering the Baltic states from third countries and plan to travel around the region will have to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.