Russian tourism could bring in billions of profit

  • 2000-05-11
TALLINN (ETA) - Russian tourism and its increase could give Estonia billions of kroons of extra profit, Postimees daily reported May 8. Estonia has currently become a cheap market for Finnish tourists, while it repels the Russians with various bureaucratic obstacles it was claimed.

This attitude was initially based on fear of an inflow of criminals, but that argument is no longer valid, Postimees stressed. The daily quoted Yrj" Vanhanen, the director of the Viru Hotel, who claimed that the Russian tourists have been made into a political issue, although Estonia could easily earn extra foreign currency on their interest. The extra income could amount to 2-3 billion kroons a year, Vanhanen estimated.

Viljar Jaamu, board member of the Tourism Firms Association, seconded him, claiming that the bureaucratic obstacles reduce the flow of tourism despite the efficiency of the Estonian diplomats.

Tourists would need an easily issued short-term visa, he added. Tourism firms also recommend that Estonia open travel offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg and significantly simplify the visa issuing procedure.

It was stressed that there is interest in Estonia among the Russian tourists.

According to the Estonian Embassy in Moscow, Estonia was the fourth most popular tourism country among the Russians last year. Urve Näu, the embassy economic advisor, quoted Russians, who described Estonia as combining Western services with low prices and knowledge of the Russian language.