VILNIUS – As the summer season gains momentum in Lithuania, tourism companies say easing quarantine conditions, active vaccination against the coronavirus and harmonized travel requirements are encouraging Lithuanian residents to travel abroad more. Meanwhile, foreigners still shun Lithuania, representatives of the travel sector say.
They hope people to continue to travel in the fall, and say travel for vaccinated people and those who have had the coronavirus will not be restricted.
Foreign travel organizers say travelers are much more optimistic this summer than they were last year as people have learned to adapt to pandemic conditions and are actively buying trips to Turkey, Greek islands, Egypt, Spain or Bulgaria.
"We are feeling a strong recovery, especially where we have direct flights, rather short-distance destinations. Trips are planned a month in advance, maximum six weeks. Looking into the future, quite a number of people are still concerned and don’t know what will be next," Donatas Kireilis, head of the Kelioniu Akadamija travel agency, told BNS.
Meanwhile, Aleksandras Sukovas, CEP of Tez Tour, says it's too soon to speak about full recovery of the tourism sectors as only initial signs are visible. In his words, everything will depend on the pandemic situation and how its managements will change not only in Lithuania but also in countries that are popular holiday destinations among travelers.
Tez Tour saw its number of travelers more than double from 11,000 to 25,000 people in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.
"The growth in the number of tourists was affected by the easing of the lockdown conditions, the vaccine rollout and harmonized travel requirement. We see that countries accepting tourists are better prepared and have more experience," Sukovas told BNS.
Meanwhile, representatives of the incoming tourism sector say they are not seeing any recovery. Gintare Antanelyte, head of Amber Tours, says people are tired of restrictions and some of them are still afraid but also want to travel, adding that such people pick Europe's southern shores for their holidays.
"Yes, people are traveling but the incoming tourism sector has not recovered. Trips are possible for groups of fully vaccinated people, and they are not many of them. Moreover, it’s hard to get into the country due to a drop in flights, and people are choosing vacation trips to Europe's seasides," Antanelyte told BNS.