The development of tourism in Lithuania: The number of foreign tourists is increasing in 2024, and it will continue to grow

  • 2024-07-11

Lithuania is one of the most advanced countries in the world, with an advanced economy that relies on important sectors, one of them being tourism. This industry brings significant returns to Lithuania, and the number of foreign tourists is undergoing a significant increase in 2024; experts consider that the number will continue to grow, making Lithuania an even more popular travel destination in the near future. The beautiful country is on the bucket list of travellers thanks to the natural wonders and breathtaking landscapes of the area, and the friendliness of Lithuanians is another factor influencing tourists' decisions, as it ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. Forecasting the future of tourism in Lithuania considering the challenges, including the post-pandemic struggling economic landscape is not easy, but 2024 could be the year of recovery for the country.

The European Travel Commission has high expectations 

On May 23rd, the European Travel Commission held its meeting in Kaunas, Lithuania, which was attended by tourism leaders from 27 countries in Europe. The purpose of the meeting was to develop a strong risk management strategy for tourism in case of crisis because, for the past few years, the sector has faced multiple challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising living costs worldwide, making vacations almost impossible. The meeting taking place in Lithuania was much appreciated, as currently, the post- pandemic is creating some issues for the tourism industry and overall economy of European countries. The participants focused on initiatives that could make tourists embrace the idea of travelling to Lithuania, including guided tours of the beautiful cities, concerts, festivities, and fairs. 

Still, despite all the challenges the sector has been facing, according to the European Travel Commission, reports show significant growth in the tourism industry from the first few months of 2024, reaching the pre-pandemic levels, saying that the numbers bring a positive outlook for Lithuania's tourism this year, forecasting that the country will receive around 1.7 million foreign tourists.  

The tourism sector's influence on the economy over the past five years

Tourism is an important sector in Lithuania that drives the economy of the country. In 2019, Lithuanian tourism contributed 2.9% of the economy, while in 2020, when the pandemic started, it went down to 1.7% and accounted for 45.769 jobs, representing 4.7% of total employment in the region. In 2022, numbers increased 5.6 times compared to 2021, including both foreign visitors and domestic tourists. Travel agencies provided services for 103.4 foreigners and 507.8 thousand residents. The following year, more than 1.1 million foreign tourists came to Lithuania, seeing another growth and a step towards the economic recovery of the country in 2023. Nowadays, the country expects to welcome over 1.7 million tourists, aiming to reach the pre-pandemic market position. 

Why tourists choose Lithuania for their destinations 

Lithuania is known for its cultural heritage, historical sites, and incredible natural wonders that attract millions of tourists every year. Moreover, one of the main aspects that drive the decision of tourists when choosing their travelling destination is the price-quality ratio, and, in this sense, Lithuania has always been looking to offer visitors the best experiences at affordable prices to maintain the tourism flow. Travelling to Lithuania can be a budget-friendly choice for some, but other people opt for luxury. Flight tickets from Europe are affordable, as there are multiple low-cost airlines that bring tourists to Lithuania for half the price; still, it is indeed possible to fly comfortably for less, for instance, you can research some useful tips for getting business class cheaper and hop on your Lithuanian adventure in luxury, without breaking the bank. Lithuania is a great choice for tourists when it comes to natural environments, thanks to the beautiful landscapes that allow them to relax and join camping sites, and the rich culture attracts history enthusiasts to the historical sites and National Museums in the most popular cities of the country. 

What to expect from the tourism industry in the near future 

The Lithuanian Tourism Roadmap 2030 is a strategic movement for the sector's development. For the first time in history, a tourism event took place to develop the future of the industry, where private and public sectors work together to create a stable ecosystem. The purpose of this project is to develop specific strategies that aim for the growth of the industry and define the priorities of the country when it comes to welcoming more visitors. Lithuania's main goal is to reach the pre-pandemic levels, expecting to receive back 1.7 million of tourists in 2024, but it also expects a significant growth by 2030. One of the core strategies of Lithuania includes promoting the use of technology and innovation to address challenges in the tourism sector and collaborating closely with other European countries and organisations to support the initiatives of the sector's growth by 2030. 

The bottom line 

Covid-19 was the main factor influencing the fall of the tourism industry in European countries. However, although the sector has faced challenges since 2020, in 2023, Lithuania saw the first sign of recovery until this year, when numbers show that the country is on the right path, slowly reaching pre-pandemic success. The future looks promising for Lithuanian tourism, and the implementation of new technologies and the development of efficient strategies could help the country reach a new milestone by 2030.