Quite a few people have opened the beach season in Liepāja, also enjoying the benefits of the organized infrastructure and cafes. The beginning of the year, which is usually a quieter time, has been surprisingly good, said Sintija Pusaudze, head of the Liepāja region's tourism office.
“In the first quarter of 2023, we outperformed all pre-pandemic data in 2019, which was the most popular tourism year since the Central Statistical Bureau conducted such data analysis. So we are a bit afraid to predict what will happen next because we overcame 2019 figures in four months last year – June, July, August, and October. Then we forecast a little more, but that it would be the first quarter, we hadn't planned it," said Pusaudze.
It is clear, however, that the status of Liepāja as the European Capital of Culture in 2027 has already generated increased interest. It is the result of the team's work involving both tourist entrepreneurs and office staff and local government cultural capital movers, believes Pusaudze.
“The information about Liepāja as a different tourist destination was brought out around the world because everyone was interested in what Liepaja was like, where in 2027 the European Capital of Culture would be. The second is the targeted work in international tourism contact shops and exhibitions because we flew to different destinations nearly every month to tell what Liepāja is, what the coast of Kurzeme is, what the Baltic States and Latvia are,” said Pusaudze.
According to her, many have been surprised by the beautiful coastal beaches, the nature of Latvia, and the various ways to reach Liepāja.
A member of the board of Liepāja
Liepāja's Hotel Amrita Chief Executive Daiga Jansone said that, in the context of the last three-year pandemic, there was certainly a return to the tourism sector. 80% of the rooms have been sold out this summer. Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, and Estonia are the countries from which people stay in the hotel most frequently.
“If we look at the statistics, then the Amrita Hotel versus last year has a plus 40% occupancy rates, but certainly the year of comparison for hotels is before the Covid time, it's 2019. If I look at 2019, we are currently at the same figures. The increase for the first three months is not the same as in 2019, but the average price has climbed significantly, which is logical given the increase in resources [prices], the increase in wages, and all other costs associated with hotel accommodation services," Jansone said.
Although at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, German tourists became more cautious and began to cancel their bookings in Liepāja, the situation has changed.
Latvian Radio met Petra from Germany writing a postcard from Liepāja at the tourism center. Along with her son, she has come from Germany on a ferry.
“The beach was wonderful, I was delighted in the white sand of Liepāja Beach. Although I could only dip my toes because the water was too cold, it was great to walk and watch and listen to the sounds of the Baltic Sea,” Petra said.
In Liepāja, a storm was created by the forthcoming concert of the band Brainstorm, and the prices of apartments reached nearly €700 for the day. For example, at the Amrita Hotel, the rooms were sold out within 20 minutes.
“New offers have now emerged, so it is no longer that one apartment is EUR 700. At this point, the business of illegal apartments is emerging, which has found an opportunity to earn. Nor are we able to influence them. [..] The municipality is working to help official accommodation and legalized apartments work, including to find the positive sides of this business for illegal apartments,” Jansone said.