RIGA - Like any major event that takes place in Latvia, this year's ice-hockey world championship provided some boost to the business of accommodation services providers, although the hotels had hoped for a higher occupancy rate, Andris Kalnins, board chairman of the Latvian Association of Hotels and Restaurants, told LETA.
Citing official data, the head of the association indicated that over 30,000 hockey fans arrived in Riga for the world championship, but the fact that the championship took place in two countries meant that fans of some national teams did not attend group tournament matches but instead were planning to only attend the semifinals and final in Tampere, Finland.
"We saw this also in the case of the Latvia-Sweden match, as fans of the Swedish team did not even plan to come to Riga but waited for their team to come back to Finland," said Kalnins.
He noted, however, that the turnover of Riga's hotels increased during the hockey championship, as accommodation prices had risen by at least 30-60 percent during the tournament. "But in my opinion, this price increase has been very democratic, especially if we compare it with accommodation prices in Finland", Kalnins said.
He acknowledged that the results were a boost for the accommodation operators after the pandemic and impact from Russia's war Ukraine on the Latvian tourism industry.
Asked about future accommodation prices, Kalnins confirmed that they would return to previous levels. At the same time, he noted that prices in Latvian hotels are comparaitively low even apart from the hockey championship.