Tourist stays still 20% below pre-pandemic levels

The importance of foreign visitors to Latvia's tourism sector, and the size of the ongoing recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is made clear in new data published by Eurostat March 8.

In 2023, the number of nights spent in EU tourist accommodation reached 2.9 billion. This represents a 6.1% increase compared with 2022 and a 1.4% increase compared with pre-pandemic 2019. 

In 2023, 24 out of 25 EU countries with available data surpassed the levels of 2022 in terms of nights spent. The most significant increases were recorded in Malta and Cyprus, with both countries experiencing an increase of 20% in nights spent compared with 2022, followed by Slovakia with an increase of 16%. A small decline in the number of nights was recorded in Luxembourg (-1%).

Nights in tourist accommodation 2019-22-23
Nights in tourist accommodation 2019-22-23

Latvia saw its number of domestic guests increase by just 1.3% in 2023 compared to 2022, but the number of foreign guests having overniht stays rose by 22%. Combined, the figures represent growth of around 12% in the sector. However, the sector is still 20% behind the visitor volumes being recorded in 2019 – the largest lag on the whole European Union. 

The number of foreign tourists still has plenty of room for growth – current numbers are 33% below the 2019 figure. 

Nevertheless, the latest figures build on 2022's equivalent figures which saw a big bounce-back from Covid with domestic tourism up 16% and foreign tourism up 144% on 2021's figures.

In 2023 Latvia welcomed 1.7 million domestic tourists – a figure just under the total population of the country – while foreign tourists racked up 2.5 million visits. With the Spring tourist season just getting under way, hopes will be high that interest in visiting Latvia will continue to revive.



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