27 September is celebrated around the world as Tourism Day. This day marks the end of the tourism season in the northern latitudes and the beginning of the season for southern latitudes. For this event, Tourism Research Centre’s manager Eriks Lingeberzins explains the topical tourism trends and what has changed under influence of terrorism.
Tourism is no longer a luxury
Speaking of tourism, the expert emphasized that tourism and hospitality go hand in hand. The same applies to the entertainment industry and other sectors. It has been noticed that motivation tends to change. Once, the definition of tourism meant primarily relaxation. Now a major portion of tourism consists of corporate tourism. The main point of which is work, conferences and business.
There is no doubt – the biggest segment of tourism consists of leisure trips – mass tourism to resorts. Corporate, gastronomical and other forms of tourism form only a small portion.
Tourism is not a luxury – it has long since become a pastime and even a lifestyle for some people. Tourism has become more accessible – transport costs continue to decline, forms of travel continue to become more varied. The same can be said about destinations. There are travellers who travel 25 times to a single destination. There are those who aim to visit as many locations as possible.
Popular destinations remain unchanged
In regards to the things that remain unchanged in the tourism industry, it is worth mentioning that the most popular destinations have not changed in the past decade. This applies to France, Greece and Spain. Terrorist threats have not affected the popularity of those destinations – France’s tourism brand is so strong that terrorists’ efforts to reduce tourist flow were only short-term. France is visited by 50 million tourists every year. This is why changes on the macro level are not felt.
The biggest changes are noticed in regards to the people who travel – people now travel more in terms their age and travel much longer. The period of life during which people travel becomes longer. While in the past most tourists came from Europe, North America and Japan, current studies suggest the inflow of tourists from other Asian countries – China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and others – tends to increase rapidly. Eastern Europe is a relatively new tourism market. Many travellers have not been in all of Europe’s destinations, so there are many unexplored areas for us.
Average tourist in Latvia – German citizen of pension age
Speaking of tourists who choose Latvia as a destination, it is worth mentioning two things – what people want to see in Latvia and what the real situation actually is. The media often report that Latvia is a great destination for gastronomic tourism. The actual situation shows that Latvia is mostly visited by transit tourists or people who only visit Riga. This is in spite of the fact that there is much to see and do outside of Riga.
The average tourist visiting Latvia is a German citizen of pension age. This is not bad, because such tourists have money to spend and they have an interest to visit places outside of Riga – Liepaja, Rundale and others.
Russian tourists still visit Latvia
Latvia’s main tourism markets are Lithuania, Estonia and Russia. It is completely normal for countries around the world. For example, Sweden enjoys a majority of tourists from Norway and Denmark has the majority of tourists from Germany. Many tourism-related companies in Latvia feel changes in geography of tourists travelling to the country. The situation, however, is not as dramatic as it may seem at first glance – tourists from Russia continue to visit Latvia. The decline of tourists from Russia can be compensated with tourists from Germany or Scandinavia. Tourists from Russia often choose expensive hotels and restaurants and stay for longer.
We have to be more open for cooperation!
On the World Tourism Day, all representatives of Latvia’s tourism industry would like to remind everyone how important it is to cooperate.