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Foreign travelers in Latvia

Results of the Survey on Travellers in 2003

According to the data of the Main Department of the Border Guard of the Republic of Latvia, foreign guests, when departing from Latvia in 2003, have crossed the state border 2470 thsd times, i.e. an increase of 197 thsd compared with the previous year. According to the survey data, the majority of foreign guests visiting Latvia in 2003, were the residents of the neighboring countries Estonia and Lithuania. 24 % of guests arrived in Latvia from the countries of the European Union — mostly from Finland, Germany and Sweden.

Survey of Travellers in the First Quarter of 2004

Compared with the corresponding quarter of 2003, the number of foreign visitors in the 1st quarter of 2004 in Latvia increased by 15%, according to the survey of travellers conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau. In the 1st quarter of 2004 foreign travellers crossed Latvia’s border 491.9 thsd times. Of the total number of foreign travellers, 68% stayed in Latvia less than a visitor-night. The average length of stay of visitors in this country was 1.4-visitor nights and compared with the same period last year (1.9 visitor nights) it has decreased slightly.

The majority of foreign visitors came from the neighbouring countries: 33% of the total number of the travellers came from Estonia, 32% from Lithuania, 7% from Russia, 5% from Poland, 4% from Finland and Germany and 2% from Sweden.

Of all the foreign travellers, 14% indicated that they had arrived in Latvia for recreation, 32% were in Latvia only in transit, 15% were visiting their friends and relatives and 20% mentioned business as their purpose of the trip.

In the 1st quarter of 2004 foreign visitors spent 21.1 mln lats in Latvia, up by 5.0 mln lats on the same period last year (this amount does not include travel expenses, expenditures on behalf of the employer and capital investments). In the 1st quarter of 2004 the travellers spent on average 31.0 lats per day, an increase of 11 lats compared with the corresponding period last year. Largest amounts were spent by the travellers from Russia (3.8 mln lats), followed by the travellers from Germany (2.4 mln lats), Estonia (2.3 mln lats), Lithuania (1.9 mln lats) and Sweden (1.2 mln lats).

32% of all foreign visitors stayed in Latvia longer than 24 hours. Of those who had stayed in Latvia overnight, 49% were accommodated in hotels or similar tourist accommodation facilities but 31% stayed with their relatives and friends. Every fifth foreign overnight traveller had visited Latvia for the first time.

The majority of foreign travellers had obtained information about Latvia mainly during their previous visits. 18% of all the travellers had received information from their relatives or friends, 3% from the tourist guides, 11% from the Internet and 8% had found it in newspapers and television.

Of the total number of visitors, 80% came to Latvia by road, 9% by air, 7% by sea and 4% by rail.

Assessment of the components characterising the trip

  Total Evaluation
Good Satisfactory Bad Difficult to answer
Quality of the service 100 73.9 21.9 1.4 2.8
Commodity price/quality adequacy 100 57.0 35.0 4.2 3.8
Responsiveness of people 100 74.9 21.1 1.7 2.3
Cleanliness of towns 100 53.4 33.5 6.4 6.7
Entertainment opportunities 100 46.8 17.4 1.8 34.0
Knowledge of foreign languages 100 49.2 32.2 7.9 10.0


Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Foreign Travelers in Latvia in 2009

The results of the survey conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau show that in 2009 the number of foreign visitors reduced by 14% compared to 2008. 72% of them spent in Latvia less than 24 hours. Of the remaining part that stayed in Latvia for more than 24 hours, 72% were accommodated in hotels and in other accommodation establishments, but 28% stayed at their friends or relatives. For 36% of the overnight visitors, this was the first time in Latvia. 44% of overnight foreign visitors named recreation as the main purpose of the visit, 27% mentioned business, and 20% visited their friends or relatives.

Most foreign travelers were from neighbouring countries: 37% from Lithuania, 20% from Estonia, 6% from Russia, 6% from Sweden, 5% from Germany and 4% from Poland.

In 2009, foreign visitors spent 344.1 mln lats in Latvia — 14.6% less compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

24% of overnight visitors received information on Latvia from the Internet, 19% — from relatives and friends, 16% — during the previous visits, 12% — during business trips, 8% — from tourism manuals, and 6% — from mass media.

Foreign Travelers in Latvia in First Half of 2010

According to the information published by the Central Statistical Bureau, the number of foreign tourists has grown — in the first half of 2010 it was 3.3% higher from the same period of 2009. Most of the foreigners visiting Latvia in January — June 2010 came from neighbouring countries — 35% from Lithuania, 19% from Estonia, 7% from Sweden, 6% from Russia, 4% from Germany and the same from Poland.

In the first half of 2010, foreign tourists in Latvia spent a total amount of EUR 217.6 mln. Among the foreign travelers who spent several days in Latvia 37% said that they had come here on business, and 19% said they were visiting their friends and relatives.