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Nicolas de Chamfort
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Swedes, Brits and Germans among top tourists in Latvia; Estonians and Lithuanians – less so

Photo: pixabay.com
In 2018, foreign travellers crossed the border of Latvia 7.8 million times, which is 0.6 % more than the year before. Last year foreign travellers spent EUR 751.9 million in Latvia, which is EUR 3.7 million or 0.5 % more than a year ago.

In 2018, Latvia was visited by 1.9 million foreign overnight travellers (0.2 % less than in 2017), spending 3.2 % or EUR 516.7 million less. Compared to the year before, the total number of nights spent reduced by 11.3 %, reaching 7.9 million nights. Visitors stayed in Latvia on average for 4.0 days – 0.5 days fewer than in 2017, according to data compiled by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Compared to the year before, increase was recorded in the number of foreign overnight travellers from Sweden (of 15.6 %), United Kingdom (3.9 %), Germany (1.7 %) and Russia (0.4 %). Decline, in turn, was observed in the number of foreign overnight travellers from Estonia (of 8.3 %) and Lithuania (8.5 %).

Most of the overnight travellers (88.2 %) came to Latvia for tourism purposes, 38.9 % of them came for recreation, 31.5 % – to visit relatives and friends, and 17.9 % – on business trips, whereas 11.8 % came to Latvia for other purposes, for example, to study.

Last year, the average daily expenditure amounted to EUR 65.71, which is EUR 5.50 more than in 2017.

The largest share of nights in Latvia (75.7 %) was spent at rented or paid accommodation, while 24.3 % at private or non-rented accommodation (at friends or relatives, summer cottages and other non-rented accommodation). On average, one traveller spent 6.8 days at private non-rented accommodation, which is 3.6 days more than at rented accommodation establishments (3.2 days on average).

Out of all overnight foreign travellers who crossed the border of Latvia in 2018, 54.1 % used air transport, 35.8 % – road transport, 6.4 % – sea transport and 3.7 % – rail transport.

Last year, most of the border crossings (in both same-day and overnight trips) were made by people coming from our neighbouring countries: Lithuania (35.2 %), Estonia (17.4 %) and Russia (9.1 %). Increase was observed in border crossings made by people from Sweden (56.8 %), Belarus (45.7 %) and United Kingdom (36.0 %).

Compared to 2009, the number of border crossings made by foreign travellers increased by 64.5 %, but expenditure – by 53.6 %. Over the ten years, significant upturn may be observed in the number of border crossings of overnight travellers (of 47.3 %), but average length of stay remained the same (4.0 nights).


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