Some signs that foreign tourists are returning to Latvia

There were more signs of recovery in the Latvian tourism sector March 15 with new data showing tourist numbers in January had increased by more than 50% compared with a year earlier, with arrivals from overseas increasing by even more. However, there is still a long way to go before tourist numbers return to pre-pandemic levels.

Data compiled by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (CSB) show that in January 2023 the number of non-resident and resident arrivals at tourist accommodation establishments was 120.1 thousand, which is 51.5 % more than in January 2022. The visitors spent 217.1 thousand nights, which is 48.1 % more than in January a year ago. 

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In January 2023 non-resident arrivals at the tourist accommodation establishments accounted for 52.4 % or 62.9 thousand people, which is more than double the figure in January 2022 though it is still 43.3 % fewer than before the pandemic in January 2020.

The number of nights spent by non-residents, compared to January 2022, has also doubled and constituted 118.6 thousand. Non-residents on average spent 1.9 nights at the tourist accommodation.

The greatest number of non-resident travellers came from Lithuania (10.4 thousand), Estonia (8.1 thousand), the United Kingdom (5.9 thousand), Germany (4.4 thousand), Finland (3.4 thousand), USA and Ukraine (2.7 thousand). In addition, 32.9 % or 20.7 thousand of the non-residents came from the neighbouring countries of Latvia – Lithuania (16.6 %), Estonia (12.9 %), Russia (2.1 %) and Belarus (1.3 %).

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Most non-residents were hosted in Riga (79 %), followed by Jūrmala (4.8 %), Mārupe municipality (4.7 %), Liepāja (2.1 %), Valmiera municipality (1.2 %), and Rēzekne (1.1 %).

In January 2023, 57.2 thousand resident arrivals were registered at the tourist accommodation establishments, which is 14.7 % more than in January 2022 and 8.1 % more than before the COVID-19 outbreak in January 2020. The residents spent 98.5 thousand nights at the establishments, which is an upturn of 13.5 % compared to January a year ago.

Resident travellers stayed in Riga (30.3 %), Jūrmala (16.6 %), Liepāja (6.2 %), Sigulda and Cēsis municipalities (4.6 %), Daugavpils (3.9 %), and Valmiera municipality (3 %).

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