Tourism executive: 2011 was very good, but 2012 will slow down

20.02.2012, 13:56

Feliks Mägus, chairman of the Estonian hotel and restaurant association, says that last year was exceptionally good for the Estonian tourism sector.

As key factors behind strong tourism year 2011, Mägus listed new air connections, launch of Tallinn-St Petersburg ferry route, simpler border crossing to Russia, more Russians having a Schengen visa, Estonia’s positive image in Europe and worldwide, Tallinn2011 and competitive prices

The number of tourists visiting Estonia increased 14.6 percent last year, mainly on account from foreign tourists. Tallinn Airport served 1.9 million passengers in 2011 that was half a million more than a year earlier.

Speaking of 2012, Mägus said that it will be more modest in terms of growth, adding: “We are expecting to see moderate growth that will be smaller than the one we had last year”.

He said that bookings were good for both in business and conference tourism and holiday tourism, “Still the tourism sector is only recovering from the economic recession that put accommodation establishments and catering enterprises in a very difficult situation”.

Mägus who is also CEO of Nordic Hotel Forum said that the whole tourism sector was being affected by the instability and insecurity in the world. “No-one dares to undertake larger development projects and growth forecasts tend to be modest,” he added.