Foreign tourists cancel bookings in Latvia due to war in Ukraine

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If the beginning of the year has seemed very hopeful for the Latvian hotel industry, the Russian war in Ukraine has changed it. Many foreign tourists cancel their bookings at Latvian hotels, the executive director of the Latvian Hotel and Restaurant Association Santa Graikste told Latvian Radio on April 22.

According to current estimates, around 60% of hotel bookings were canceled. Travelers look cautiously at the Baltic region, said Graikste.

Graikste said that frequent customers know the situation and are not afraid to visit Latvia, whereas new customers do not book any stays. In her opinion, a joint plan would be needed to present Latvia as a safe country where there is no war.

Graikste said the situation is different in the Baltic States, for example, the Lithuanian hotel sector is assisted by Poland's proximity. Neighboring countries have also implemented promotional campaigns during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Currently, the hotels have an opportunity to accommodate Ukrainian civilians fleeing the war. Not only are they giving shelter and helping with jobs but tours and other events are also being organized for children.

She added that due to restrictions on Covid-19, which have been more stringent than in neighboring countries, the performance of Latvia's tourism sector was similar to those of 2020. In 2020 and 2021, hotel activity was similar to that of 1997-1998.

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