The situation in the sector is critical, said Graikste. "We have made several statements, letters, and requests to renew the support. If we used to say that Rīga is affected the most and everything is fine rurally, it is currently equally bad everywhere. 2021 has been worse in the sector than 2020 — at least minus 40%. So the situation is critical, though it doesn't look it from the sidelines."
The situation is made worse by the sky-high energy bills. This week the government decided to extend the aid mechanism for Covid-19 to closed sectors until the end of the emergency, but the aid was not extended for the sectors that are not completely banned from working.
However, positive trends have also been observed in 2021. Last year, tourism firms and hotels reported growing interest in bookings. But the industry is currently lacking employees. “The question is, who will then host these guests as the industry has lived with restrictions for two years,” Graikste said.
She emphasized that foreign guests are very important to the industry, representing around 70% of the total number of clients.