Latvian tourism professionals, in cooperation with the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) and the national airline ‘airBaltic’, have started this year with a series of successful B2B events. From 9 to 11 January, during the Travel & Connectivity Week, events dedicated to the Latvian tourism industry were held at the EXPO 2020 World Fair in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Latvian Pavilion attracted the attention of visitors and media with various presentations and activities by industry representatives.
LIAA Tourism Department, in cooperation with the Latvian national airline ‘airBaltic’, organised a series of workshops where some of the leading representatives of the Latvian tourism industry presented Latvia’s tourism offer to UAE-based tour operators and other interested parties. In addition to this, B2C activities were also implemented, where visitors to the pavilion were introduced to tourism opportunities in Latvia through an interactive game. Visitors could experience Latvia through the delicacies of local producers, while ‘airBaltic’ introduced visitors to Dubai-Riga direct flights, offering them the opportunity to put themselves in the pilot shoes in the photo corner and win ‘airBaltic’ flight tickers to Riga.
“EXPO 2020 is a unique global platform that gives us the opportunity to reach markets and target groups that are more difficult to get in touch with and can require a very high level of investment. We made a special effort to reach out to UAE residents and tour operators through our tourism activities at EXPO 2020. The most important link in this communication is the ‘airBaltic’ year-round direct flights from Dubai to Riga. With this link, we can give locals the opportunity to enjoy the cultural contrasts and the pleasant Latvian climate when temperatures in the UAE exceed 50 degrees. It should be noted that Dubai and EXPO 2020 are visited by people from all over the world, which adds an extra dimension to these activities,” says Inese Šīrava, Head of the Tourism Department of LIAA.
Inga Ulmane, Head of the LIAA Representative Office in the UAE and Director of the Latvian Pavilion at EXPO 2020, is also pleased with the past series of events: “The Latvian Tourism Days were very well received by both visitors and the local media. A quiz, created by our own team, proved that Latvia is not so unknown in the world. Visitors from all over the world were able to answer most of the questions after visiting the pavilion and talking to Latvians. The videos in the Latvian Pavilion about our nature and culture tourism offer often intrigue visitors to find out more about opportunities to travel to Latvia, especially at the moment when we show a lot of winter pictures and videos, mentioning that this is what our home looks like right now. It happens that a visitor from the Middle East has never seen snow in their life and finds these pictures to be like the most beautiful fairy tale and even something a little unreal! Also, the interior furniture and design objects found in the pavilion, especially wooden ones, stimulate people’s interest in seeing the forests where the trees and the nature grows, where creative Latvians live and are inspired.”
The Latvian Pavilion was repeatedly featured in the most popular morning and evening broadcasts of both Dubai TV and Abu Dhabi Emirates Channel, where interviews were given not only by Inga Ulmane, Director of the Latvian Pavilion, but also by Māris Olte, representative of the Nature Tourism Association, who introduced the spectators to the wide range of nature tourism opportunities.
Alongside the pavilion’s exhibition of innovations created by Latvian entrepreneurs, highlighting the tourism industry helps to reveal the many facets of Latvia — with its rich cultural heritage and sense of global travel, as well as its drive towards innovative ideas and technologies, looking towards the future.
Agita Kurzeme, Member of the Board of ‘JA Travel’, is appreciative of the participation in EXPO 2020: “Just like Dubai shows that the impossible is possible, we in Liepāja prove it as well! Coming to such a metropolis and seeing all this, we are even more convinced that Latvia and Liepāja have their own charm, and their own energy. People here cannot get to know and experience nature in the way we understand it in Latvia — it is very difficult to feel it here. Our aim is to give them the opportunity to get to know about it, which I believe was perfectly captured by the presentations given at the Seminar on the Entirety of Latvia. We see our opportunity here not so much in reaching out to local families, but to specific target groups who want to experience new sensations, learn new things, explore contrasts and have a good time.”
“We have been operating in the UAE market for five years and have established cooperation with several business and event tourism operators based here. So far, the UAE, and more specifically Dubai, has been the place where the decision makers have been based, and as a result, we have got groups from Europe. However, the potential of this market increases significantly as ‘airBaltic’ offers oregular flights between Dubai and Riga throughout the year. This is a key factor in attracting local travellers to Latvia. The Latvian Tourism Seminar at the Latvian Pavilion has been a quality way to let the local audience know that they have an opportunity and that we are interested in welcoming them. We went to Dubai with the aim of meeting existing clients and making new contacts to build cooperation in the future — and we have definitely achieved this,” says Edgars Kuzmans, Creative Director of “3K Management”.
Participation in events of this scale gives the opportunity to get Latvia’s name out there — and the past series of events proved that people are interested in Latvia. International visibility and interest in products and services produced in Latvia also contribute to the competitiveness of the economy in global markets. LIAA Tourism Department, together with cooperation partners and participants of the event: ‘airBaltic’, ‘Latvia Tours’, ‘3K Management’, RITA (Riga Investment and Tourism Agency), ‘JA Travel’ (Latvian West Coast Tourism Offer) and LDTA (Latvian Nature Tourism Association) appreciates the work done during the Tourism Days and, given the interest of people in travelling to Latvia, we can be satisfied with the work of our entrepreneurs in various sectors.