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Flow of foreign tourists continues to grow in 2015
The dramatic decline in the number of Russian tourists was outweighed by tourists from European Union countries
In 2015, hotels and other tourist accommodation places served 3.1% more foreign guests than a year before, reaching 1.5 million, according to the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Director of the Department of Tourism of LIDA Inese Šīrava explains: “In a situation wherein we experienced a dramatic decline in the number of tourists from Russia, we managed to finalize not only individual quarters of the last year but the whole year in general with a plus sign. It is an excellent achievement”.
Last year tourists from other countries compensated the decline of Russian tourists by 31.5%. The biggest increase in the number of foreign tourists in Latvia was from neighbouring countries – Lithuania (increased by 19.8%) and Estonia (by 15.0%), as well as from other priority target counties of the tourism sector of Latvia, including the United Kingdom (by 17.9%), Sweden (by 12.4%), and Finland (by 10.6%).
Data of the CBS indicates that the tourist flow from Germany increased by 5.9%; the number of tourists from Germany is continuously growing annually and currently takes up the stable second biggest share of the tourism market after Russia (during the third quarter of last year it even occupied the biggest share of the market). There was a significant increase in the number of tourists from Norway, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Denmark, and other countries.
In considering that during the previous year Russian tourists were those that stayed in Latvia for the longest period, we could expect that 2015 would be marked by a decline in the number of overnight stays. But it did not happen because tourists from other countries completely compensated the decline in the number of overnight stays of Russian tourists. In 2015, the number of nights that foreign guests spent in the tourism accommodation places of Latvia remained at the level of the previous year (declined by 0.1%).