According to the statistical data provided by the Central Statistical Bureau, the number of foreign visitors registered in the hotels and other dwellings in Latvia during the first half of the year has reached 444,930, which represents an increase of nearly 31% compared to the same period last year. The number of foreign visitors registered in Latvia during the first half of the year who chose to stay overnight exceeded the best results registered over the last ten years (the first half of 2008). During the first part of the year, a significant proportion of the tourists — nearly 81% — chose to stay overnight in Riga.
The director of Latvian Tourism Development Agency (LTDA) Armands Slokenbergs says: “The increase in the number of tourists has been facilitated by the joint marketing activities carried out by the industry and LTDA and the merit also partly goes to the new tourism image of Latvia and the slogan “Best enjoyed slowly”, which has been recognised by both the local tourism professionals and international experts from the World Tourism Organisation and the world’s largest travel guide “The Lonely Planet”. In 2011, we foresee excellent results in the tourism industry. Knowing that during the next years the scope of LTDA's marketing activities will become broader, we can affirm that Latvia has solidly and safely returned to the tourism market as a tourist destination.”
During the first half of 2011, the leader countries, as to the number of tourists and number of nights spent in Latvia, were Germany, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, and Sweden. These countries are also considered as Latvia's high priority tourism markets for the time period from 2010 to 2015. Therefore, the Latvian Tourism Development Agency (LTDA) considers that the direction of its efforts towards the focused implementation of the marketing strategy is correct and already proving fruitful. The largest number of tourists that have stayed overnight during the first half of 2011 is from Russia (74,546), which represents an increase of nearly 77% compared to the same period last year. The next countries on this list are Estonia (increased by nearly 43%), Italy (increased by nearly 38%), Sweden (increased by nearly 37%), Poland (increased by nearly 36%), and Lithuania (increased by 31%).
The number of foreign visitors that were registered at the hotels and other dwellings in Latvia during the first half of 2011 was 358,905. This represents an increase of 30.8% compared to the same period last year, which was 274,402. The largest increase in Riga was registered from the target countries of LIVE RĪGA promo campaigns — Russia (increased by 86%), Estonia and Sweden (increased by 41%), and Lithuania (increased by 38%), as well as the number of visitors from other countries has continued to grow — from Finland (increased by 21%) and Germany (increased by nearly 17%). The biggest proportion of foreign visitors registered in the hotels and tourism dwellings in Riga during the first half of this year was made by tourists from Russia (16%), Finland and Germany (10%), Norway (8%), Estonia and Sweden (7%), and Lithuania (6%).