Urva: Estonia changing from tourism tiger to pet cat
Erki Urva, the former president of Estonian Air, writes that there is a danger that Estonia could become little more than a province on the European tourism map. A few years ago, the Latvian government decided that Riga must become the centre of Baltic aviation and tourism and decided to drastically lower airport taxes. In 2005, the number of passengers at Riga Airport grew by 77.1 percent and the growth continues. In 2004, Tallinn Airport decided that it was time to attract low-cost airlines and lowered its airport taxes for all airlines, but especially for easyJet. Passenger numbers started to grow, but failed to reach Riga's levels. Urva thinks that the state should act aggressively and decisively and make all airport taxes twice as low as Riga's. Navigation payments for all planes that land in Estonia should then be lowered by 90 percent.