Vision Conference: The city ponders measures to develop Tourism
Tallinn is rapidly becoming one of the top tourist destinations in the Nordic region. At the Vision Conference which took place in October 2018, the city weighed up measures to develop things further. The city’s leaders believe a tourism tax may bring benefits not just to residents but also to visitors to the city. The conference brought together local government leaders, tourism entrepreneurs and the business leaders from all over Europe.
At the conference, the merits of a tourism tax were discussed. Mihhail Kõlvart, Chairman of the Tallinn City Council, said even a small tax could bring money to the city which could then be used to develop the cities sightseeing spots and improve the experience for Tallinn’s visitors.
«To maintain Tallinn’s status as an internationally known and attractive destination for both recreational and business tourism, the city constantly needs to invest in both its environment as experienced by tourists and its marketing,» Kõlvart said.
»Even a one-euro-per-night levy on each tourist would bring the city up to 2.8 million Euros per annum in revenue,» he stated.
This money could then be used for developing urban infrastructure, renovations to notable buildings in the old town including churches, for marketing purposes and other costs related to tourism, Kõlvart said.
At the conference, Kõlvart set out figures. “Fifty per cent could go into the renovation of the Centre City and the Old Town and making city spaces better. Thirty per cent can go in fulfilling promotion of the city abroad- we do this currently, but we could do more,” Kõlvart said.
The possibility of visitors to Tallinn being able to use free public transport was also discussed at the conference.
The conference shared its experience also with foreign presentations from Riga, Vilnius, and Rostock.
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania already has a tourism tax of one euro for every bed night. In 2019 the city is due to receive tax 2 million euros.
“The money collected from tourists goes towards growing the competitive capabilities of tourism spots and improving tourism infrastructure,” said Lithuania and restaurant association operational director Egle Lizaityte.
Fifteen EU countries already have a tourism tax with the income put back into the city and region.
Tourism numbers won’t be affected
Kõlvart said tourism won’t be adversely affected by a tax. “Tourist number grow despite the fall in the number of tourists from Finland,” he mentioned.
“The number of bed nights in Tallinn hotels has grown. Foreign tourist numbers have grown in the past two years and internal tourism in the past five years.”
Kõlvart stressed that no firm decision has been made as yet.
“Do we want those who spend more money or those who are more interested in culture? This is not just Tallinn city’s decision it’s a state decision. Our main goal is to start a discussion.”
Tallinn tourist sector blooming
According to figures from the city’s tourism bureau, in 2018, over 4,5 million people visited Tallinn. The city is the second most popular cruise ship destination in the Baltics, doubling in the last 10 years to a total of 570,000 cruise ship passengers for 2018.
The number of overnight stays in the city has jumped by 50%, from 1.8 million to 2.7 million.
Over 3,700 conferences took place in 2018. The city is to renovate the City Hall as an all-purpose conference centre with studio facilities.
Notable conferences in recent months include the CyCon 2018 cybersecurity conference and the annual Lennart Meri conference which also focuses on security. International sporting events which have been a big draw include the SEB Tallinn Marathon held every September, and two in August 2018: The Ironman triathlon event and the UEFA Super Cup.
Tallinn in the running for Tourism Award
Tallinn is in the running for best use of social media at The City/Nation/Place Awards which takes place in London 8 November.
In August, Tallinn City Tourism Office and Convention Bureau flew seven social media influencers & visual content creators to Tallinn to share experiences.
The weeklong series of outings and workshops goal was to find new destination ambassadors for Tallinn who would promote its positive image as a travel destination.
Content creators were picked from over four hundred applicants. The chosen influencers have approximately 1.5 million followers between them.
The creative camp was attended by vloggers and social media influencers from Russia, Australia Canada Latvia and Ireland. The results on social media have already had 10 million views.
The award ceremony takes place at the annual forum for place branding and place marketing professionals from around the world.
With over 100 entries, from neighbourhoods, towns, cities, regions and nations across 16 countries, 2018, The City/Nation/Place Awards has become the most valued award in marketing and social media.
Tallinn has taken a bold approach to social media. The other finalists are from Finland, USA, Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
TechStars Startup Week Tallinn 2018 to take place in November
TechStars Startup Startup Week launches on 19 November at Superangel Hub in Telliskivi and concludes on 23 November.
This year’s event will be a collaboration with local companies such as Eesti 2.0, Vivistop Telliskivi, Robotex, Insplay,
, hardware and software workshop, product presentation, and product design workshop. There will be a chance to mingle and learn from established startup founders and young entrepreneurs.
As part of the programme, the Tech Meets Tallinn track presents products individual startups based in hubs like Tehnopol, There will also be a Startup Expo in Solaris Centre primarily showing the products that Estonian startups create.
Wednesday main event Startup Superpowers is all about information sharing among startups people. On Techstars Thursday, at Lift99, startups near and far will have a chance to pitch to international investors and receive mentoring. Thursday’s events will be followed by a networking session.
Tallinn is the home of many world famous startups including Taxify, a transport company similar to Uber which was founded just five years ago and now operates across Asia, Europe and Africa and Transferwise which is the leads the world in Fintech.
There are about 550 startups in Estonia, most of them based in Tallinn in hubs funded and develop by Tallinn City.
StartupEstonia also receives financing from the European Regional Development Fund.
All the events of Techstars Startup Week Tallinn 2018 are free of charge.