Countryside tourism grows 10%

This year the number of holidaymakers who go to the countryside has grown 10%, Asnāte Ziemele, head of the countryside tourism association Lauku celotajs told Latvian Radio Friday.

In the start of the season entrepreneurs were preparing for worse results - at any rate, at least no growth. While more than half of the entrepreneurs tell that they've seen growth of 10 or more percent.

Most of the tourists – about 80% – are locals, and most of the growth was seen thanks to this group.

"[The growth] means that Latvian people have money, and they are keen on going to the countryside on their holiday. And it shows that the country's economy is well," said Ziemele.

She disagrees that the increase in such tourism would be related to people not being able to afford vacations abroad: "No, there has never been competition between the two. These are two different things. [..] When people fare badly in economical terms, they don't go anywhere."

The countryside tourism industry also depends on tourists from abroad as they stay for longer and spend more. 

Most foreign tourists come from Germany, Russia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Every year, companies not directly related to countryside tourism - such as wheat farms and fruit growers - are entering this industry as well. It creates diversity in countryside tourism.

"[Creating diversity] is important to us. If a cheese producer, ostrich farmer, potmaker and several craftsmen are OK with accepting guests [..] it gives tourism more color," said Ziemele.

In October, LSM had the chance to hop on a bus on a day-tour to the farms, wineries, bakeries and other rural businesses of the welcoming Latvian countryside. See how we fared here

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