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World media giving Riga good publicity

Media organizations around the world have been publishing positive materials about Riga in record numbers this year, state Tourism Development Agency (TAVA) expert Lelde Beņķe told business news portal Wednesday, citing combined data from TAVA and the Latvian Institute (LI).

“We can be thrilled that Latvia has become one of the most desirable destinations for tourism,” TAVA director Armands Slokenbergs added.

Through the cooperation of TAVA, the Riga Tourism Development Bureau (RTAB), the LI and the Riga2014 foundation, Latvia and its capital city have garnered broad publicity in the foreign media, tourism exhibitions and promotional events for tourism sector representatives.

The TAVA chief referred to Swedish travel magazine Vagabond, which called Riga the most beautiful metropolis in the Baltic states and listed it among Europe’s cities that offer a wonderful weekend getaway. Finland’s travel magazine Mondo also recommends the town as an ideal vacation spot.

US travel portal singled Riga out among 28 romantic summer destinations for its enchanting architecture, the unique creations of Latvian designers and its fine dining opportunities.

On its part, notes with pleasure Riga’s beautiful parks and broad green zones, pointing out that in general the whole city is “incredibly clean and orderly.”

A writer for neighboring Estonia’s largest daily newspaper Postimees said Latvia is a destination where his countrymen are always welcome. “Why do we like it in Latvia? It’s our closest metropolis. There’s always something interesting going on in Riga, it pulses, the streets are full of tourists. And after all, Riga is Europe’s Culture Capital! The more I come to Latvia the more I like this land, it’s changing and there’s always something new.”

Slokenbergs concludes that there is reason to be proud – that various targeted tourism-promoting events in countries like Germany, Russia, Finland, Sweden and the neighboring Baltic states have borne the fruits of good publicity, as seen in the statistics on the rapid growth in the flow of foreign tourists into Latvia.

According to Beņķe, the TAVA spokeswoman for tourism marketing affairs, almost all of the more than 900 various materials dedicated to Latvia’s capital city that were published or broadcast by third-country media were with a decidedly favorable spin. They hailed Riga’s ancient history, rich cultural life and architectural greatness.

LI spokesman Krisjanis Ozols agrees that the title of Europe’s Capital of Culture has given Riga and Latvia in general an unprecedented growth in favorable publicity.

“Compared with previous years we’ve seen a ten-fold increase in the amount of publications in foreign media about Latvian culture. Even more – Latvia’s publicity in general has grown rapidly this year. That means that journalists visiting Riga become interested in and write about other topics in connection with Latvia,” Ozols enthused.

He cited approximately 360 journalists registering more than 900 articles, televised stories or other forms of publication about Riga as Europe’s Capital of Culture.

Ozols underscored that “in fact all of these publications have been positive, even in the Russian media. This very effectively boosts Latvia’s image in the current fight for the information space in light of recent global events,” said the LI representative.

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