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Number of foreign visitors to Latvia continues to increase

RIGA, Oct 24 - The number of foreign travelers and their expenditure in Latvia continue to increase, according to the results of survey on the first half of 2013 carried out by Central Statistical Bureau.

In the first half of this year, foreign travelers crossed the border of Latvia 2.7 million times, which is 5.2 percent more than in the first half of the previous year.

In the first half of the year, foreign travelers spent LVL 185.1 million (EUR 263.4 million) in Latvia, which is 5.7 percent more when compared to the same period last year.

The largest amounts in Latvia were spent by overnight travelers from Russia – LVL 30.7 million (EUR 43.7 million). Tourists from Norway spent in Latvia LVL 13.0 million (EUR 18.5 million), from Lithuania - LVL 10.6 million (EUR 15.1 million), but from Estonia - LVL 8.3 million (EUR 11.8 million).

Of all foreign travelers, Latvia was mostly visited by travelers from Lithuania – 34.9 percent, from Estonia – 20 percent, and from Russia – 9.9 percent, followed by travelers from Sweden – 4.9 percent, and from Germany and Poland – four percent from each country.

The same as in 2012, on average overnight travelers stayed four days in Latvia. 70 percent of foreign travelers were accommodated in hotels or in other accommodation establishments, but 30 percent stayed at their relatives or friends.

Comparing the number of overnight travelers with the first half of the previous year, it is obvious that the number of travelers from Estonia increased by 31 percent, from Russia - by 24 percent, from Finland - by 14 percent, from Norway – by 10 percent, and from Lithuania - by eight percent.

Analyzing the main purpose of the visit of overnight travelers, 37 percent of foreign travelers mentioned recreation, 27 percent - business trip, and 26 percent - visit to friends and relatives. As compared to the first half of the previous year, the number of travelers who mentioned visiting friends or relatives as the main purpose of the visit grew by 24 percent. As the main purpose of their visit, travelers from Russia and Lithuania mentioned visiting friends and relatives, but travelers from Estonia and Norway – recreation.

To obtain information about travel to Latvia, foreign travelers use different sources. 27 percent of all travelers obtained information from the Internet, 20 percent - from relatives, friends and acquaintances, 17 percent – during their previous visits, 14 percent – from travel guides and the mass media.

Out of all overnight foreign travelers who crossed the border of Latvia, 48 percent used air transport, 38 percent - road transport, nine percent - railway transport, and five percent - sea transport.
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