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Baltic Hotel Construction Sees Traction

Friday May 3rd, 2013 - 10:07AM

The Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square opened in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

NEW YORK—Tourism in the three Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia is on the rise and 13 new hotels are currently under development in the countries.

According to data tracker TopHotelProjects, Kempinski plans to refurbish Latvia's famous Hotel Riga into a luxury hotel with 232 rooms. An additional two first-class hotels are due to open in the city with a total number of 185 rooms. In June a new business hotel (280 rooms) will open at the international airport. In 2015 another business hotel with 200 rooms is due to open in Riga. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.  is palnning ot open the 312-room Sheraton Riga Hotel next year.

Similarly, the 96-room Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square opened in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius this past September. Last year eight Lithuanian hotels newly opened or were refurbished. This year a property by Louvre Hotels will open in the capital as well as two hotels will open in Klapeida, according to THP.

Within the forthcoming seven years numerous hotels are planned for Estonia, according to THP, but specific brand names for those hotel construction projects were not available.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism in the Baltic countries should develop positively. The WTTC analysts expect an average annual increase of 3.3% between 2013 and 2023 in Estonia, a rise of 4.9 % in Lithuania and 6% increase in Latvia.

With 5.5 million overnight stays during 2012 the Estonian tourism sector has counted the highest number of bookings in all the Baltic states. This is accounted by the high number of visitors from Finland. The largest portion of tourism influx during 2012 has been mainly generated by Russian guests (+31%), while the number of arrivals by travelers from Finland, Sweden and Norway declined.

In Latvia the 2012 overnight stays increased by 7.7% to 3.5 million overnight stays. Russian visits grew (+33.4%), while the bookings made by visitors from the other Northern countries, except for Denmark, declined.

The Lithuanian hotel sector counted 5.3 million overnight stays in 2012, 6.9% more than in 2011. The number of arrivals from Russia jumped 44.6%, according to WTTC.