Growth in the tourism sector was expected after the end of the pandemic, but after February 24, the industry received another blow. Sintija Pusaudze, head of the Liepāja region tourist information center, said: “February 24 undermined tourism a bit, we thought at first it would be stronger. It had a minimal impact on the coast from Kurzeme and Liepāja; the Germans canceled the reservations in the capital and the border area, but they came to us, even though they feared that we would border the aggressor state.”
The pandemic had its advantages because there was the possibility of advertising tourism widely, by participating in events from a distance. Liepāja joined the European Tourism Association and the Northern European Tourism Association. The pandemic has also helped prepare for the reception of six cruise ships arriving in Liepāja this year.
“Already these six cruise ships entered, two years of the pandemic had been spent preparing. As a result, the guides were ready, the knowledge was restored again. After the second year of the pandemic, transport companies wanted to do something. The resumption of the tourist season put a little more pressure on them because their shortage of staff is as important as the hospitality sector, yet we were very prepared. We also have excellent professionals level at the tourist office who have been able to pull together all the necessary services. It’s a separate niche, it’s a separate tourism sector. They have other requirements, other facilities that they want to see, in every city where cruise ships stop. They are more interested in cultural and historical heritage, old Latvian traditions,” said Sintija Pusaudze.
For now, data on tourist movements in Liepāja are known for the end of June, but it is clear that this year is significantly better than last, according to statistics and hotel occupancy. Pusaudze said: “It is already true that the number of guests served in Liepaja accommodation has increased by 40% compared to last year, because we note that it is the quiet season – April, May and June. We believe that July and August will not be smaller, they must be much larger. It is a pleasure to have an increased number of nights spent. Latvian and foreign guests are here longer.”
Pusaudze said that Lithuanian tourists dominate, but there are also a huge number of tourists from other countries: “We have Germany and Estonia, Denmark, the United States and Poland. We don’t count not Ukraine because it’s a very sad reason why Ukraine ranks in the top 10 for stays.”
Latvia and Liepaja are also interesting for tourists from more distant regions. It is known that representatives of the tourism industry from the United Arab Emirates arrive for a visit in September. The exact details of the tourist season will be known at the end of September. In total, visitors from over 85 countries have stayed at Liepāja accommodation.
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