Early start to inbound tourism
Based on the data gathered by the Lithuanian Department of Statistics, the National tourism development agency “Travel Lithuania” provides that the inbound tourism season in Lithuania started already in May. Compared to the same month last year, the number of foreign tourists grew by135 percent. Based on primary data, an increase in foreign tourist numbers was also recorded in June.
In July, however, a decrease in the inflow of tourists was recorded. The representatives of “Travel Lithuania“ note that during this particular month Lithuania was caught in inevitable competition with other popular tourist destinations, as a result of which, a 21 percent decrease of foreign tourists was recorded, compared to the month of July, 2020.
Nevertheless, foreign tourist inflow saw further growth in August and the accommodation establishments reported hosting 11,6 percent more foreign tourists than last year.
Based on the information provided by the tourism development agency, Lithuania was the primary travel destination for tourists with a preference for leisure tourism. The majority of them chose Lithuania’s larger cities as their destination. Accordingly, between June and August, every other foreign tourist (or 54 percent of them) had visited the country’s capital – Vilnius.
Most of the foreign tourists who travelled to Lithuania during the summer came from Germany, Poland, and Latvia. They represented more than a third (35 percent) of all foreign tourists in Lithuania.
Travelers seek authentic entertainment
According to tourism experts, despite lesser restrictions for international travel during the summer season, an increase in local tourists was also recorded – there were 17 percent more Lithuanians travelling within the country in comparison to 2020. Jolita Bride, the head of LLC “Kuchmistrai”, which includes a restaurant and a hotel inspired by the traditions of Lithuanian nobility, also talks about a significant increase in tourist numbers during the summer season.
„When we compared the summer seasons of 2020 and 2021, we saw a significant increase in the inflow of tourists. Based on our calculations, the growth was more than 10 percent. Most of the tourists were coming from Vilnius, Kaunas, Trakai, and Klaipeda,” said the director, adding that the restaurant and the hotel, located within the ensemble of Zypliai manor, was also frequently visited by foreign tourists, especially from Germany and Georgia.
J. Briede reveals that following new opportunity passport rules imposed nationwide on September 13th, the number of visitors at the previously mentioned establishments decreased: „After new rules concerning opportunity passport were imposed, initially we encountered a wave of customer dissatisfaction and the number of visitors decreased by 7 percent.“
According to her, tourist numbers are slowly starting to rise again, since travelers continue to seek more authentic experiences, and they are ready to explore more remote Lithuanian cities. J. Briede also expects that various events planned for the fall and winter seasons will help attract more visitors.
„Our visitors first and foremost look for authenticity – they not only evaluate the surrounding environment, but also seek for unique gastronomic experiences, and a chance to enjoy out-of-the-city tranquility. We want to bring more variety to the services we provide by including different events. Without a doubt, the number one priority remains our employee and the guests’ health, so we plan the events very carefully and with consideration to all possible safety measures,” says the director of “Kuchmistrai”.
She adds that to increase tourist numbers even further, they joined the “Third-night” initiative, a national tourism campaign according to which when local or foreign tourists book a two-night stay at the hotel, they can extend their stay for the third one free of charge.