Estonia’s 2017 visitor numbers surge as it gears up for centenary celebrations

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Estonia has experienced a strong uplift in visitor numbers in 2017, with the number of UK tourists increasing by nearly a fifth compared to the same period last year. Figures for January to September show an uplift of 19% on the previous year, with over 46,000 UK visitors across 9 months.

The news comes as the destination gets ready for ESTONIA 100 in 2018 – a special programme of events and initiatives to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Estonia.

Celebrations will take place throughout the year to mark the most important milestones in the emergence of Estonia as a unified country. A wide range of exclusive events – covering themes from history and heritage to design, music and nature – will take place across the country.

Confirmed UK events will include a special programme of music from The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir at London’s Barbican Centre in January 2018 and an exclusive film exhibition from the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Centre in London from March to October 2018. Further UK events will be confirmed over the coming weeks.

Events taking place in Estonia include the “Tale of the Century” theatre project where 100 years of Estonian history are told across 13 days; an ‘International Dance Day’ anniversary gala from the Estonian National Ballet; and a special opera entitled “Estonian History – a Nation Born of Shock”. The programme also includes special editions of annual festivals taking place in Estonia, such as Tallinn Music Week (tmw.ee), Simple Session (session.ee) and Parnu Music Festival (parnumusicfestival.ee).

Estonia has received a number of accolades in 2017, including Tallinn being named the world’s number 1 best value destination in 2018 by Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel. The celebrated travel yearbook highlights the top ten countries, cities, regions and best value destinations that Lonely Planet’s experts recommend to travellers in 2018.

And the forecast for 2018 is positive with news of increased airlift from the UK. Wizz Air has recently announced four new flights a week from London Luton to Tallinn by June 2018. Additionally, British Airways twice-weekly service from London to Tallinn, which was introduced this year, has been extended to year-round. These routes will augment the direct Tallinn flight routes serviced by Easyjet and Ryanair.

Tarmo Mutso, Director of the ‎Estonian Tourist Board commented:

“2018 is set to be a momentous year for Estonia, with a diverse and far-reaching programme of centenary activity for people to enjoy all around the world, as well is in our country. The UK is a hugely important market for Estonia and as such Visit Estonia is committed to investing in growing inbound tourism. We’re delighted to see that our country has been so popular with Brits in 2017.

With almost 50% of our country populated by forest and over 2,000 islands, Estonia is the perfect destination for experiencing a wealth of outdoor activities, enjoying wildlife and breathing some of the cleanest air in the world. The nature product is complemented by our capital’s magical UNESCO old town, innovative Nordic food scene and unique heritage and culture. We are we look forward to welcoming more visitors from the UK to our country next year.”