In 2018, the number of tourist accommodation facilities in Estonia decreased by 9%. There is an urgent need to take measures so that the tourism sector in Estonia develops and receives more income from tourism. The whole country will benefit from this. I do not support the increase of the VAT rate on the companies which are in the tourism industry, so I will stand against it in the Parliament, together with the Center Party (KESKERAKOND). Tourists bringing good money to Estonia, which remains in our economy. This will help to increase our wages and pensions. I support events and smart initiatives that would bring more foreign visitors to Estonia and introduce our unique heritage culture, pure nature and offer a high standards of services in accommodation and tourism.
Tourism is an important economic sector for us. For Estonia, it is important to increase the number of guests, since it will help to raise awareness in the world about our country, which in fact will help to contribute to increase our export earnings in the future. This requires exceptional determination and commitment to achieve the desired results. I have many years of experience in the tourism business.
On this basis, I established in the Parliament an inter party association for tourism and local products, so that legislators can understand the problems in our field. A quarter of the members of the Parliament voluntarily joined this association, and this is one of the largest NGOs in parliament. Of course, I would like to continue this work in the Parliament for the next four years.
High-quality accommodation, high level of services and delicious food are often decisive arguments when someone is choosing a tourist destination. In addition, a large number of citizens are engaged in tourism and services, as well as in trade, which is an important growth platform for Estonian small businesses. My vision is consistent with the opinion of the Estonian Association of Travel Companies and the Estonian Association of Hotels and Restaurants. I believe that their views were carefully reviewed by professional associations and NGOs and therefore are important for the sustainable development of the tourism sector. My priorities in the field of smart tourism:
• Confront the rise in VAT rates in the tourism sector.
• Present Estonia as a place for cultural, pure nature and conference tourism, using Estonia’s global network and intelligent IT solutions.
• Modernize vocational training in tourism.
• Ensure that Estonia has good connections with European centers in cooperation with private companies in the field of tourism development.
• Implement a national marketing plan and tourism strategy to increase tourism exports by 30% by 2020.
• Ensure today's stable taxation, as in other European countries, where accommodation services are part of the national export trade to ensure our competitiveness and a free market in the tourism sector.
• Make the system with stars mandatory and consistent with the Nordic countries to ensure consistent assessment and quality of the insured services that customers are expecting.