Russian tourist interest in Estonia has increased

A tourism campaign organized by Enterprise Estonia in Russia that called on residents of St. Petersburg and the vicinity to go on winter holiday in larger Estonian cities has completed another cycle. Interest in the campaign, held for the seventh year, increased last year's results by several times - 35,000 people visited the campaign website during a month's time and around 9000 people participated in an online drawing.

The campaign, financed by the European Fund for Regional Development and entitled "Estonia is closer than it seems" focused on possibilities of spending a winter holiday in Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu. Estonia was promoted on St. Petersburg's streets, subway stations, shopping centres, media and web and radio and a total of 12 free trips to Estonia were raffled off.

"Compared to last year, visits to the www.visitestonia.com/ru/ site were up around 60 per cent and the number of participants in the online drawing increased by a whopping 800%," said Enterprise Estonia tourism development centre director Tarmo Mutso. "As we expected, the greatest interest was shown in spending the New Year's Eve holiday in Tallinn, but there was also much interest in Pärnu spas and lodging in Tartu."

Mutso said that the economic downturn was ironically one reason that St. Petersburg tourists were more interested in travel to Estonia. "Closer and more inexpensive countries are being sought out as an alternative to distant and expensive exotic travel and the higher-priced Nordics," Mutso said. "And it is also recognized that Russian tourists do not make concessions in terms of quality and it is a great testament to local companies that we are capable of competing so successfully with neighbouring countries."

Among the countries with the greatest tourist flows to Estonia, Russia has been the only one in the last nine months where the number of tourists still shows a growth trend and the growth has been noteworthy considering the circumstances - the number of nights spent at accommodations providers has risen by 13%. Last year, Russian tourists who travelled to Estonia spent an average of 2.5 days in Estonia, leading all foreign tourists.

Estonia and in particular Tallinn is for Russian tourists a popular place to spend New Year's Eve. The number of visitors last year and the forecasts by St. Petersburg tour operators and transport companies give reason to expect over 15,000 Russian tourists in Tallinn for the winter holiday season, not including those who spend the night with friends and relatives.

The Enterprise Estonia campaign ran from 26 October to 30 November. Tank agency developed the visual solutions for the campaign.

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