bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 23.05.2017 | Name days: Leontīne, Ligija, Lonija, Leokādija
LatviaLatvia

Latvia Tours: Latvia has few unique products to offer tourists

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUEstonia is well-known for its countless spa-hotel offers, Science Park and the recently opened Lotes Park. Lithuania has dolphins and a wide variety of spa resorts. Latvia is far behind in this regard because the country lacks unique and internationally known products to offer tourists, said Director of Lidot.lv and Latvia Tours Ieva Keisa in an interview to BNN.

What are some of the most notable recent events in your sector?

There was the 39th European Basketball Championship in September. I believe it can be considered a notable sports event. It did help with tourist flow. Active processing of trips began in September. The same goes for the beginning of an active professional exhibitions season in Europe.

October is noteworthy with the 10th jubilee of Latvia’s largest airline ticket shop Lidot.lv. Following the end of the cruise ship season we have begun preparing for the next.

Can you say economic conditions are improving and there is a lot of potential for economic growth in the market?

In spite of reports in the press that 2015 marked a record-high number of liquidated companies, as well as continued effect of the geopolitical situation, companies have adapted rather well. With that, the situation in the country, especially in Riga and its region, is viewed as stable with a slight tendency for growth. At the same time, however, the situation in regions is complicated, because the closure of the Russian market greatly impacted the fish processing industry. The halt of production over at Liepājas metalurgs has also greatly impacted the economic situation in Liepaja region. Neither this year nor next year is any growth expected, at least not in the tourism industry. Companies actively look for cost optimization solutions, investment in technologies and improvement of productivity.

How would you describe the government’s economy policy aimed at improving the economic situation in the country?

It is hard to call the government’s realized policy a policy at all, because what it is now is nothing more than a collection of general and theoretical activities voters will have to pay for. The adoption of Solidarity Tax will only put pressure on businessmen that already pay taxes, which would only serve to reduce their competitiveness. The proportion of shadow economy will not be impacted at all.

How is the industry affected by Latvia’s policy? What changes to legislation would you like to see? What helps? What makes things more complicated?

It would be easier to compete with Lithuania and Estonia if VAT rates for hotel services were equal. The current rate in Latvia is 12% (9% in Lithuania and Estonia).

The chaos in state procurements only adds to our despair: criteria for procurements are often illogical and unjustified. I believe it would be worth adding regulations to the Procurements Law that will provide an advantage to companies that have profits, invest in development and honestly pay taxes. For example, one positive criterion to consider would be company capital. There are many companies in Latvia that have been working with losses for a long time and have been unable to invest in development. In Estonia, such companies are either forced to close down or invest in their capital to compensate losses. Another potential criterion would be having liquidity coefficient above 1.0. It is one of the main criteria banks look at when assessing a company’s viability.

How would you describe the industry’s position in the Baltics? What about competition with Estonia and Lithuania?

Latvia’s position is stronger because we have a national airline. At the same time, however, Estonia is known for its countless spa hotel offers, Science Park and the recently opened Lotes Park. Lithuania has dolphins and a wide range of spa resort offers. Latvia falls behind in this regard: we lack unique and internationally well-known products to offer tourists. I think the best way to sell Latvia as a tourist attraction is to develop a combined travel offer that would include visits to all three Baltic States or even some other nearby country. Latvia is a small country. This is why it would be far more interesting for Japanese tourists to look at more than just Latvia. With that said, Latvia Tours now offers combined Classic Baltic tours that provide such options.

What can you can your ‘trump card’? What is your ‘Achilles’ heel’?

The fact that Latvia has its own national airline is definitely a trump card that offers us advantages before our neighbours. The same goes for our active hotel segment, which offers an expansive range of offers to tourists.

In spite of pessimistic predictions that traditional tourism agencies will soon stop existing and everything will be bought on the internet, we are proud to call a stable and loyal range of clients our trump card.

Our ‘Achilles’ heel’ is the current situation with state procurements and the lack of state and municipal support for major tourism events that would otherwise help popularize Riga and Latvia as a worthwhile destination.

Can you say there is a lack of skilled workers in Latvia?

Travel consultant is a profession that requires a lot of knowledge and skills, so it’s not easy finding good workers. It is also hard finding reliable people for middle-management positions, because such work requires a lot of energy and people quickly burn out. We are also proud to say our personnel rotation is lower than 10%, which is a good index.

Graduates of tourism programmes lack skills and knowledge that can only be acquired when working as a travel consultant. In most cases young people under the age of 30 become travel consultants. These people usually have good experience working with computers, social media and high-technologies in general. Nevertheless, communication and sales skills, knowledge of foreign languages and geography are invaluable in this profession. Education programmes should include acquisition of practical knowledge while working with actual employers. A good cooperation model with tourism agencies would allow students and their future employers to find each other more easily.

What do you predict for the next five years? Will the situation in the industry improve, worsen or remain the same?

It is hard to make predictions for the next five years, because the tourism industry is affected by international policy and global natural disasters. I believe that in the event of a positive scenario, the economic situation will be stable and with a positive outlook for growth.

Ref: 102.109.109.8484


Leave a reply

Experts: Rail Baltica – connection that benefits everyone

The essence of Rail Baltica project is not combating the trends currently present in the world, but rather using them as an advantage, says advisor to the Bank of Latvia Andris Strazds. He adds that more and more economic and social development is centered in large and urban city centres.

Latvian companies ahead of neighbours in organization of business trips

Latvian businesses are more progressive in the organization of business trips than Lithuania. They do, however, spend a lot of money on planning and organizing of those trips. In addition, they also use inefficient financing methods – 20% of employees are forced to pre-finance their business trips from their own pockets, according to results of an international study.

Riga Eastern Clinical Hospital to identify patients using fingerprint data

Riga Eastern Clinical Hospital has introduced biometric data identification system that will be used to identify patients using fingerprint data, BNN was informed by the hospital.

FDC: micro-enterprise tax has created serious defects

The micro-enterprise tax has created serious defects for Latvia’s tax system, said Fiscal Discipline Council chairman Janis Platais in an interview to Latvijas Avīze.

Microsoft software licences cost Estonia millions each year

Estonian ministries and their subordinated institutions pay a total of under five million euros each year in Microsoft software licence fees.

Latvia’s unemployment rate was 9.4% in Q1 2017

In Q1 2017 the Latvian unemployment rate constituted 9.4 %. Compared to the previous quarter, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points, whereas, compared to the same period of the year before, the rate reduced by 0.9 percentage points.

Pension expert: how far can index funds root themselves in Latvian pension plans?

Latvian pension plan clients can still pick existing pension plans with sufficiently flexible deposit policy and possibilities to receive consultations. It should be added, however, that pension plans based on index funds can find clients in Latvia for whom low-price guarantees is important the most, Nordea Pensions Latvia board member Ilya Arefjevs predicts.

Latvian Defence Ministry plans the largest tendering process in country’s history

This summer, Latvian Defence Ministry plans to announce the largest tendering procedure in the history of Latvia’s army. It is planned to procure heavy vehicles to transport armoured vehicles and troops. The total amount for the next ten years may reach EUR 200 million, as reported by Nekā personīga.

Study: engaging in business improves satisfaction with life

It has been concluded that psychological aspects are far more important than financial aspects in business operations – stability, family support, exchange of experience and realization of ideas are important for emerging businessmen, as concluded in a study performed by Altum.

Following use of EU funds, demand for loans increases in municipalities

Demand for loans from the State Treasury has increased after use of EU funds became more active, said Kaspars Abolins, chief of State Treasury, in an interview.

Swiss voters decide to move away from nuclear energy

Switzerland has decided to quit nuclear power stations and opt for renewable energy, show the results of a referendum held on Sunday, May 21, where 58% voters backed phasing out nuclear power.

Child vaccination made mandatory in Italy

Reacting to lower child protection against measles, the government of Italy has decided to make vaccination against 12 illnesses mandatory for children before they start going to state schools.

Deputies to decide on prohibiting gambling in Riga’s historic centre

On Monday, 22 May, deputies will discuss the matter on sorting out Riga’s historic centre. It is stated in new territorial plans that it will be prohibited for gambling halls to be located in this area.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuania to start paying child money in 2018

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that the government will follow up on its plan to next year start paying a monthly benefit for each child regardless of their parents' income, but adds that the state cannot afford to pay more than 30 to 50 euros in so-called «child money».

BNN summary of the week: problems with state financial accounts Baltics to promote healthy eating

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Business; Future; Decline; Truth and Growth.

Specialists: noxious smoke from the fire claims more lives than the flames

The biggest damages during a fire are caused by flames, whereas noxious smoke from the fire kills more people, as noted by firefighting specialists.

FVS uncovered illegal sheep meat product trade

Inspecting an advertisement published on Facebook, Latvian Food and Veterinary Service uncovered illegal trade of sheep meat, canned meat storage and meat product distribution organized in an office building on Selpils Street, Riga, as reported by SRS.

Municipal elections 2017: what do people say?

With municipal elections gradually coming close, BNN offers a compilation of opinions provided by experts from different industries. Short answers consist of thoughts about specific municipalities that affect respondents directly, and municipal administrations in general – what people expect from officials and what changes they expect from elections.

Sweden decides to drop Wikileaks Assange arrest warrant

Prosecutors in Sweden have made the decision to quit the investigation in the case, where the founder of classified document leaking organisation Wikileaks, Julian Assange, is charged with rape and to drop the European arrest warrant on him.

Vejonis: we have yet to assess the use of funding in healthcare

In his interview to 900 seconds, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis said the level of competent use of funding in the country’s healthcare sector has yet to be properly assessed.

ST: changes to Latvia’s credit rating associated with GDP growth

The possibility of Latvia’s credit rating growing is directly tied to gross domestic product growth, admits State Treasury manager Kaspars Abolins.

War games start in Estonian large-scale military drill with allied units

The military drill of the annual Estonian Defence Forces entitled Spring Storm has entered its key stage of a week of imitated battles, where units of other NATO member states and partner states are to take part.

EP tells member states to speed up refugee resettlement; especially children

European Union member states have to fulfil their promises to resettle asylum seekers from Greece and Italy. This especially applies to children, as stated in European Parliament’s resolution approved 19 May.

Total costs of reconstruction of Mezaparks Grand Stage may reach EUR 77 million

The estimated costs for the reconstruction of Mezaparks Grand Stage may reach EUR 77 million, as announced by Riga City Council’s Property Department Direction Olegs Baburovs at the first meeting of the Song and Dance Celebration Council.

Greece passes further austerity measures to receive next bailout payment

The parliament of Greece has adopted a further set of austerity measures, which are necessary to ensure the next bailout instalment worth several billion euros.

Newest comments