The Baltic Tourism Report examines the strong long-term potential offered by the region's tourismindustry, which has the advantage of being able to attract tourists from both Western and Eastern Europe.
In particular, there has been renewed growth in arrivals from Russia and Belarus to the region over recentyears, complementing already strong demand from Germany and Finland. However, we caution that theeconomic crisis in the eurozone could weigh on short-term tourism demand from that region in 2013.
The report also analyses the growth and risk management strategies being employed by some of theleading players in the local tourism sector, such as airlines and hotel chains, as they seek to maximise thelong-term growth opportunities being offered by the Baltic market.
2011 was another strong year for the Baltic tourism industry, in line with BMI's expectations. In all threestates, tourist arrival numbers rose sharply. There were also significant increases in the amount of tourismrevenue generated by each country, with Estonia continuing to be the largest market in terms of revenues.
Looking at trends in 2012, all three countries reported higher hotel occupancy rates over the key summermonths, which bodes well for full-year tourist arrivals figures. BMI estimates growth in tourist arrivals of15% for Estonia, 3.5% for Latvia and 10% for Lithuania in 2012. Estonia clearly benefited from Tallinn'sstatus as a European Capital of Culture in 2011, which raised the nation's global tourism profile.
Looking ahead, we remain positive on the tourism industry outlook for all three states, with Latviahopefully set to receive its own boost to tourism when Riga is a European Capital of Culture in 2014.
For 2013, BMI holds the following forecasts and views:
Estonia has performed best in terms of attracting tourists from both Western Europe and formerSoviet states in recent years. This is reflected in its strong inbound tourism flows, which weexpect to continue over our newly extended forecast period to 2017. Estonia remains BMI'sfavoured Baltic tourist market.
Cruise ship arrivals to the Baltic states will continue to grow strongly over our forecast period,with more cruises now stopping in Lithuania and Latvia, in addition to Estonia.
Latvia still arguably needs to do more in terms of international tourism promotion if it wants todevelop its tourism industry as fully as those in Estonia and Lithuania. In particular, Latviaremains heavily reliant on neighbouring states for its inbound tourism flows, with more than50% of its H112 arrivals coming from either Estonia or Lithuania. In comparison, Latviaaccounted for just 3% of total overnight tourists in Estonia in 2011.