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THE EUROPEAN CAPITAL’S LIVE RIGA TOURISM CAMPAIGN BOASTS RIGA AS A DESTINATION FOR YOUNG AND HIP CITY BREAK TRAVELLERS, A PLACE WHERE THE OLD AND THE NEW ENTWINE IN A FASCINATING CLASH OF CULTURES THAT ATTRACT FRESH VISITORS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE.

Riga, having been long established for attracting the older generation of travellers, in recent years, has given way to statistics denoting a recent rise in youthful tourists seeking a more cultural node of holiday-making.

According to Ieva Lasmane, executive, marketing account, Riga Tourism Development Bureau, key markets for young visitors are Estonia, Lithuania and Scandinavia.

“Weekend travel to Riga is very accessible, [especially as these specific markets] where we mostly work in business to consumer segments.”

Further commenting, Lasmane indicated that, “Young travellers in general are those who enjoy the nightlife and active recreation possibilities in Riga, but we see more and more culture tourists in this segment as well that come [...] for different contemporary arts events and concerts.”

Agreeing with this aspect, Sandis Solims, general manager, Hotel Gutenbergs indicted that, “Riga is mostly attractive to young visitors because of its rich nightlife, [...].”

While keeping up with trends, Vladimirs Bessmertnovs, marketing manager, Hotel Justus, commented on the competitiveness in recent years in the tourist industry, by further indicating that they had to react to changes rapidly as many new players come into the market.

A PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED

Shedding light on the country’s offerings, leaving aside the antiquated side of Riga, urban travellers can indulge in the numerous events and culinary delights highly renowned by many.

As stated by Lasmane, the Baltics-Positivus festival that takes place in the month of July, is visited by many youth from abroad in close proximity of Riga, along with numerous concerts and food festivals, as asserted by Solomis.

Affordability is at the peak of many young travellers check-list, along with effortless technological advances, aiding in excelling the holiday experience.

Evita Gasporovicha, manager, sales and marketing, Neiburgs Hotel & Restaurant, indicated that their main plan is to keep their quality and number one position among Riga hotels, and boasted that this year business performance is much better compared to 2015.

Facilitating the growth of tourism and the younger generation, the Riga International Airport has opened up many new routes, connecting thrill-seekers to numerous diverse European countries.

“The main competitive advantage for Riga [...] is the best air connection to other European cities,” added, Lasmane, further indicating the the airport has played a major factor for doubling the number of tourist to Riga in the past six years.

As the European capital of culture 2014 and the demand for short stay, overnight breaks peaking at 3.1 million in 2014, revelead by Euromonitor International, young travellers are more inclined to embark upon this cultural escapade.

From the ease of today’s technology, simplifying ticket purchasing, through to the direct flights readily available, these all promote Riga as the destination for the urban tourist.

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

As the city begins to urbanise, patience takes its toll. Neglected as it seemed, Riga’s Miera Iela street began emerging as hip. Edging on the appeal to fresh onlookers, are quaint bars, vintage shops and even tranquil coffee shops for those wanting to explore.

Statistics shown on Live Riga branding and promotion strategy indicated that a majority of tourism is owed to the age groups of 16 – 25 years at 23 percent, and 26 – 35 years at 35 percent respectively, in the year 2014.

For the first two quarters of this year, visitor growth has exceeded seven percent, with the historically dominant markets being Germany and Russia.

According to Lasmane, the number of tourists from Germany are about the same as the number of tourists from Russia, which has historically been one of the key target markets.

Other main target markets indicated by Lasmane are the UK, Scandinavia, Estonia and Lithuania, The Netherlands, and Italy.

In summary, Riga is becoming ever so popular as an Eastern European destination for city breaks offering good value for money, great food and high quality services.

The charm and architecture of the vintage town will not disappoint even the most demanding of travellers, according to Bessmernovs.

Whether it is a short momentary spur of urban culture or even a quiet group visit, Riga’s future looks positive.