The Bank of Estonia: foreign tourists spent €1 billion less in Estonia in 2020

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, foreign tourists spent €1 billion less in Estonia in 2020 than the year earlier, according to the Bank of Estonia.

Estonia’s central bank said in its statistical release that foreign tourists only spent €410 million in Estonia in 2020, which is a billion euros less than in 2019. At the same time, the residents of Estonia spent €405 million abroad, which was €800 million less than the previous year.

The number of trips by the residents of the European Union to Estonia was only a third of the amount who visited in 2019. Half of them came from Finland, but even that number was down by 63% in 2020, the central bank said.

“The COVID-19 crisis had least effect on tourists from Latvia and Lithuania, but there were only half as many of them as in the previous year,” the Bank of Estonia noted.

“Visitors from countries outside of the European Union accounted for only 19% of the total number of visits.”

The number of same-day visits dropped by two million in 2020, and there were 70% fewer overnight visits to Estonia than in 2019, although they increased to four nights in duration on average, according to the central bank.

Altogether 1.7 million foreign visitors

Estonian residents made 60% fewer visits to other European Union countries and only 18% of the visits were made to countries outside of the EU. One in four visits were to Finland, but the number of them fell by half, compared with 2019.

“The smallest impact was seen in Latvia where visits were down by 37%,” the Bank of Estonia asserted.

Altogether, 1,712,994 foreign visitors came to Estonia in 2020, and Estonian residents made 1,328,879 visits abroad.

The Bank of Estonia produces statistics on foreign travel because one task of the central bank is to compile the balance of payments for Estonia, which includes exports and imports of travel services.

The Bank of Estonia is the country’s central bank. Since Estonia adopted the euro on 1 January 2011, the Bank of Estonia’s main task is to contribute to the price stability within the eurozone.

A foreign tourist walking on a beach in Estonia. The image is illustrative. Photo by Tanel Murd.

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