Estonia to spend five million on promoting itself in Russia, Latvia, Finland

16.05.2012, 14:08

Enterprise Estonia is going to spend about five million euros, targeting mainly tourists from Russia, Latvia and Finland, promoting Estonia as a tourism destination, writes Postimees.

While last year the tourism promotion campaign was focusing on Tallinn that was the European Capital of Culture, this year’s objective is to attract foreign tourists also to visit sights outside Tallinn.

“Nature tourism does not mean that people should be arriving in camouflage suits and in Wellingtons. We want to reduce the importance of Tallinn among foreign tourists and get tourists to, for instance, Lahemaa,” says Tarmo Mutso, head of Enterprise Estonia’s tourism promotion centre.

Mutso says that while all three countries – Russia, Latvia and Finland - remain important for incoming tourism, they all require different approach.

As for Russians, they are now being offered holidays in luxury historic mansion houses that “make them feel themselves like the Russian Emperor Peter I or Chaikovski”.

Tiina Kärsna, head of the Russian section of Enterprise Estonia, says that the key strengths that are being offered to Russian tourists are peace quiet and greenery, things that residents of Moscow or St. Petersburg may have lost already.

“Our main target gropu is higher middle classes of Russians who are visiting Estonia with their family or friends. They will always Tallinn, but we hope to attract them also to other towns,” said Kärsna.

“You don’t tell Finns that Estonia’s has 150 lakes because Finland has three times as many. But it could be interesting, for instance, to German tourists. Unlike Russians, Germans could be also more interested to see a live bear in our woods. For Latvians, South Estonia is geographically the nearest to them and it may be difficult to attract them to visit limestone cliffs in our Northern coasts,” said Mutso.

Since, statistically, an average foreign tourists spends 213 euros in Estonia, the state should attract 23,400 tourists a year to cover the cost of the 5-million-euro campaign.

Since it is estimated that about 1.8 million foreign tourists visited Estonia last year, this is not a problem.

By the way, the tourism promotion campaign in Finland is the first the Enterprise Estonia is carrying out in this country.

Mutso said that since very many Finns had already been in Tallinn, the strategy is to focus on the hobbies of visitors such as golf or kayaking.

Next year Enterprise Estonia is putting its hopes on Lotte World that is being built in Tahkuranna near Pärnu.