TALLINN - Lawmakers on Nov. 23 approved legislation that provides for issuing single-entry tourist visas for up to five days without the need for an invitation.
The move is being seen as a boon for the tourist industry, especially from the East, since in the past the invitation was required for Russian travelers to enter Estonia.
Foreign tourists will, however, be required to prove they have the means necessary to pay for their stay.
Tourist officials welcomed the news, while Tallink, the country's maritime passenger service company, said it would wait and see before deciding whether to relaunch its route to St. Petersburg, which it cancelled a year ago after operating for some nine months.
"We're waiting for visa facilitation by the Russian side as well. At the moment there is yet no decision on reopening the St. Petersburg line," said Tallink's investor relations manager, Peter Roose.
Other problems with St. Petersburg, the company stated, have involved port dues and red tape.
Meanwhile, Tallink announced it would soon hold a name-giving ceremony for its new 165-million euro ship at the Aker Finnyards shipyard in Finland. The new ship will be named Galaxy.
Ulo Kollo, a company director, told the Baltic News Service the name was leaked, since normally the names of new ships aren't published before the ceremony.
There is still work to be done on the interior of the vessel, which is expected to be delivered in April 2006, Kollo said.
The ship is to sail on the Tallinn-Helsinki route. It will accommodate 2,800 passengers and be one of the largest passenger vessels sailing the Baltic. The ship will have 927 cabins, numerous catering and entertainment areas of various styles and tastes, and conference rooms with more than 450 seats.