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Latvian tourism backbone must be preserved, says association

The most important representatives of the tourism industry in Latvia must be preserved through the crisis, said Jānis Naglis, president of the Latvian Hotel and Restaurant Association, in an interview to Latvian Radio December 11.

In the COVID-19 crisis, it will not be possible to maintain the entire infrastructure of the tourism sector for a long time, therefore, the backbone of the industry must be focused on, including the most important hotel network and airBaltic, said Jānis Naglis.

Although part of the tourism sector had the opportunity to recover after the spring fall in the summer, a number of branches of the area did not experience it. “Only with Baltic and local tourism, it was possible to [cover] the losses for the very extensive tourism family,” Naglis said.

Naglis said the state is doing as much as the economic situation in Latvia allows.

“Of course, for a long period of two, three years, I think it is unrealistic to hope that we will maintain our support and the entire infrastructure, There will be losses,” he said.

It is therefore important to maintain the backbone of Latvian tourism. For example, in the field of conference tourism, major conference centers should be maintained. It is also important to maintain the most important hotel network.

“It's important to keep our airline that could bring [tourists] here. However, there must also be places to feed them and to allow them to explore Latvia – visit places,” Naglis said.

Naglis said that more than 30 hotels in Rīga were closed. But some hotels are introducing safety measures to accommodate people who are in self-isolation. Adjusting hotels requires a lot of investment, but the first isolating people could be taken in already before Christmas.

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