Tiny Estonia looks for foothold in huge China market

Estonian Tourist Board visits China for nine-day sales mission
Building strong ties with partners in the world’s biggest developing market is what so many of the world’s destinations are doing. Even tiny but enterprising Estonia, with a population of 1.3 million, is actively seeking China’s attention. The Estonian Tourist Board was in China for a nine-day sales mission last week.
“As we don’t know what the Chinese are interested in doing in Estonia, we came up with a diverse range of activities, from bear-watching to handicraft workshops,” its market manager for Asia, Helina Andruškevitšus, told TTG Asia.
“Once we’ve gathered all the travel consultant feedback, we can develop niche products for the market. We can’t take millions of arrivals, so we hope to target a specific market, especially nature lovers.”
Visiting Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, the Estonian Tourist Board was joined by seven trade partners including hotels, city tourism boards and travel agencies.
Anne Kurgpold from the agency Baltic Travel Group suggested that first-time Asian travellers could join group tours. “It gives a better idea of what the destination offers before coming back as FITs, as people speak English,” she said. But she added, “However, the Chinese market hasn’t taken off yet.”
Estonia has planned fam-trips for travel consultants this summer and will soon introduce a new tourism website. The Baltic state welcomed three million tourists in 2014.
TTG Asia
[photo by Hando Nilov, Estonian Tourist Board]