Liepāja saw foreign tourist numbers rise by 40% this summer

In Liepāja, compared to last year, the number of tourists increased by at least 40%, coming from 85 countries. A new tourism niche has opened in the city: the possibility of operating cruise ships, Latvian Radio reported on August 29. 

Growth in the tourism sector was expected after the end of the pandemic, but after February 24 the industry received another blow. Sintija Pusaudze, head of the Liepāja region tourism information center, said: "February 24 undermined tourism a little, we thought at first that it would be stronger. It had a minimal impact on the coast of Kurzeme and Liepāja; Germans canceled bookings in the capital and border area, but they came to us, even though they were concerned that we border the aggressor state."

The pandemic had its benefits as there was the opportunity to advertise tourism widely, participating in remote events. Liepāja has joined the European Tourism Association and the Northern European Tourism Association. The pandemic has also allowed to prepare for the reception of six cruise ships arriving in Liepāja this year.

"Already these six cruise ships entered, two years of the pandemic had been spent in preparation. As a result, the guides were ready, the knowledge was restored again. After the pandemic's second year, transport companies longed to do something. The resumption of the tourism season put a little extra pressure on them because their staff shortages are as big as the hospitality sector, yet we were very prepared. We also have excellent, high-ranking professionals in the tourism information office who were able to bring together all the necessary services. It is a separate niche, it is a separate tourism sector. They have other requirements, other facilities they want to see, in every city where cruise ships stop. They are most interested in cultural and historical heritage, Latvian ancient traditions," said Sintija Pusaudze.

For the time being, data on tourist movements in Liepāja are known for the end of June, but it is clear that this year is significantly better than last, according to statistics and hotel visits. Pusaudze said: “It is already the case that the number of guests served at Liepaja accommodation has increased by 40% compared to last year, as we note that it is the quiet season – April, May, and June. We think July and August will not be smaller, it has to be much larger. It's a pleasure to have an increased number of nights spent. Both Latvian and foreign guests are here for longer."

Pusaudze said that tourists from Lithuania dominate, but there are also very large numbers of tourists from other countries: "We have Germany and Estonia, Denmark, the United States, and Poland. We do not count Ukraine because it is a very sad reason why Ukraine ranks in the top 10 stays."

Latvia and Liepaja are also interesting for tourists from farther regions. Tourism industry representatives from the United Arab Emirates are known to arrive on a visit in September. Exact details about the tourism season will be known at the end of September. In total, visitors from more than 85 countries have stayed in Liepāja accommodation.

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