Population: 2.88 million (2016)
The biggest of the three Baltic states, Lithuania is south of Latvia and Estonia, bordering Poland. The Lithuanian outbound travel sector grew rapidly during the economic boom leading up to 2008 but took a battering when the economy endured a deep contraction. At its worst, unemployment approached 20%. However, fewer workers were laid off than in Latvia and many were kept on reduced salaries instead. The recovery since then has been strong and the economy is growing quickly again.
Agencies are seeing demand for distant destinations such as Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia and Myanmar in Asia, the UAE in the Middle East and Brazil, Peru, Mexico and the USA in the Americas. There’s also more demand for ski breaks in winter, to Italy, France and Andorra. And far from being a declining segment, coach trips on comfortable vehicles where clients can see several countries in one go are actually increasing in number.
Population: 1.97 million (2016)
The biggest and geographically most central city in the three Baltic countries is Riga, capital of Latvia. It’s partly due to this that for 15 years Riga International Airport has boasted the Baltic region’s best connectivity, a development that fits logically with the city’s position as a fast-emerging business and entertainment centre.
Travel agencies describe their typical customer as being over the age of 35, urban-based and travelling as a couple as much as with a family. Clients are interested in beach holidays in summer and sun or ski breaks in winter.
Population: 1.31 million (2016)
The smallest of the Baltic countries, Estonia is also the most northerly, with Finland its closest non-Baltic neighbour, geographically, culturally and commercially.
In the last few years Latvia and Lithuania have all but caught up on Estonia’s greater affluence, meaning that despite Estonia’s more Scandinavian orientation, people’s travel choices are no more sophisticated than in the other Baltic states. It’s still true that the keywords for leisure holidays are sun, fun and exotic experiences with the majority choosing charter flights that start from Tallinn. It is also true to say that in Estonia more holidays are being arranged independently online via OTAs, Airbnb and similar platforms.
*more detailed information is available on request.