According to ERR News, tourist agencies and businesses in the region held a vote on who to target: Latvian, Finnish or domestic tourists. Latvia won by a narrow margin, but Latvian tourists alone won't make up for the loss of Russian tourism in Ida-Viru County.
"This can only be replaced with Estonia's primary foreign market, which is the Finnish market," explained Kadri Jalonen, Ida-Viru County's tourism coordinator. "This won't go quickly; we had already gotten started on that. Today we decided to remove the Russian market from among our [target] markets, and in addition to Finland will be working on the Latvian market instead."
Hotel Narva, which has previously independently made efforts to attract tourists from France, Germany and Scandinavia, is in support of the new direction.
"This is an excellent decision, as our hotel itself has not taken such steps in the Latvian direction," said Hotel Narva director Vladimir Aret. "We'll get new clients with the help of the cluster."
Three years ago, Russian tourists accounted for just over a quarter of all tourists in Ida-Viru County. Following the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Russian tourism in the county fell by nearly 90 percent.
Estonia's national tourism website visitestonia.com already offers a full Latvian-language version and, particularly close to the Latvia-Estonia border it is not unusual to see tourist information in Latvian as well as Estonian and English.