We know Estonia
7.2.2022 | Person

Estonian Tourism Board Director Liina Maria Lepik: “Restrictions will certainly continue, but now we need to focus on what can and cannot be done”

Text Petri Saraste
Photo Rene Riisalu

Estonian Tourism Board Director Liina Maria Lepik: “Restrictions will certainly continue, but now we need to focus on what can and cannot be done”Liina Maria Lepik started her career as the director of the Estonian Tourism Board in 2020, just before the pandemic started.

 

Liina Maria Lepik, director of the Estonian Tourism Board, is already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic. The year 2021, she said, showed in many countries that domestic tourism could hit double-digit percentage increases compared to before the pandemic.

“Our proximity to Finland makes fast trips possible. According to our research, 90 per cent of Finnish tourists have visited Estonia. It means that Finns love their favourite places, but also want to find something new ”.

“A survey conducted last summer shows that 34 per cent of Finns plan to travel to Estonia in the near future. That is a great result given the current corona situation. When it is understood that coming to Estonia is as safe as domestic tourism, I do not see any obstacle that this figure will be much higher when this survey is conducted again in the spring,” Lepik continues.

According to Lepik, the co-operation of the authorities is of paramount importance in the current situation.

“Restrictions will certainly continue, but now we need to focus on what can and cannot be done. This pandemic has shown that there is no reason to blame or stigmatize others. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the leader of world coronavirus statistics has changed from country to country at least 89 times,” Lepik emphasizes.

Last year, Estonia organized 80 international sports events. The same spectrum of events is being organized for this year as well. Hotels have taken advantage of the coronavirus era by developing and investing in their services. But have prices also gone up?

“It really hasn’t happened. Accommodation in Tallinn, for example, is more than 20 per cent cheaper than it was in 2019. If prices have had to be raised, there are reasons for general price pressures. In addition, everything in the tourism industry depends on the region and the season,” says Lepik.

 

Trips all over Estonia

Lepik says with humour in her voice that literature shows that in the 14th century, people fled Florence to the country after an outbreak of the plague. “Even today, this is a global trend. All countries have seen a decline in tourism in large cities and an increase in rural areas.”

“We have fast bus and train connections to other cities in the country, and the flight from Tallinn to Saaremaa takes only half an hour,” says Lepik.

And what are your favourite destinations in Estonia?

“Whenever I have the opportunity, I go to Hiiumaa, where I spend several weeks a year. It’s the most wonderful place in the world to recharge your batteries and find out your thoughts. Another place I love is the Matsalu Nature Park in Western Estonia. Of the small towns, Viljandi and Haapsalu are my favourites. In Viljandi, I can watch the lake from the top of the castle hill, or I can sit in a nice cafe in Haapsalu and enjoy the views of the seashore,” Liina Maria Lepik explains.

 

To learn more about this and similar topics
Coronavirus Restriction Estonian Tourism Board Hiiumaa Liina Maria Lepik Matsalu Nature Park Saaremaa Tourism in Estonia Viljandi

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