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Comment: Jaan Reinhold on boosting tourism between Estonia and the UAE

As Estonia prepares to showcase its cuisine at Gulfood in Dubai, CT speaks to the country’s ambassador about growing tourist numbers

The Republic of Estonia regained its independence in August 1991. Despite the fact that diplomatic relations between Estonia and the UAE were only established 15 years later, since the beginning of the Nineties we’ve had political and economic delegations visiting Tallinn and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in turn. This led to the Estonian government’s decision to establish Estonia’s first Embassy in the Arabian Peninsula in Abu Dhabi. Despite the pandemic, we’ve been able to enjoy very close cooperation between the two countries in the last few years.

Mutual trust does not only mean close communication at the governmental level, it is equally based on close contacts between our people

The UAE has traditionally been an important and preferred tourist destination for Estonians during the wintertime for both city and beach holidays, as it has an excellent climate and a safe environment.

The well-developed tourism infrastructure and Arab culture interestingly combined with modern life makes the UAE a great tourist magnet. 

Tallinn's old townTallinn’s old town

In recent years, the number of Estonian corporate tourists wishing to develop economic ties with the UAE business community has also increased. I’m glad that both Estonia and the UAE are ambitious countries in terms of new technologies, and that business ties have brought more and more Estonians to the UAE.

According to information from the pre-pandemic times, the number of travellers from Estonia to the UAE was about 12,000 annually

It must be taken into account that there are Estonian travellers who are reaching the UAE via other countries. Considering the fact that we are currently negotiating the establishment of a direct flight connection between Estonia and the UAE, which according to the calculations would be economically profitable, it is probable that the passenger flow will be even bigger than imagined.

Expo 2020 Dubai has certainly helped to increase the number of business tourists travelling between the two countries both now and in the future. At the same time, the number of passengers who want to travel to Estonia from the UAE is growing steadily, especially during the summer period.

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Next month at Gulfood, we’ll have a chance to showcase what Estonia has to offer with 16 Estonian food companies represented. This shows the interest of our food industry in the region, the potential of our products in this market and our willingness to find new markets and partners throughout the MENA region.

The Estonian Minister for Rural Affairs will also visit Gulfood, which shows our government’s support for the aspirations of companies.

This year, our distinct offering includes a line-up of drinks, including mineral water brands such as Värska Vesi and Haage. The local market will also see new seafood brands such as Heimon, supplying delicious and fresh fish without anything extra, and Japs, a leading seafood processing company in Estonia.

Cream filled cardamom buns with almond pasteCream filled cardamom buns with almond paste

On the snacks front, customers will have the ability to shop Balsnack, a brand with a history of creating tasty chips, and Ecotrade’s tasty and healthy plant-based protein products. In addition, Karila and Roosiku Chocolate Factory specialise in tempting, guilt-free, raw, organic chocolate.

The high standards of food quality and safety in the UAE fully meet the standards of our producers. From wild berries to beverages and chocolates, the retail industry will see a significant increase in offerings from Estonia, further driving the trade towards a cleaner, more sustainable living. We’re interested in investing more in bringing organic food to the market, since Estonia has new and interesting products to offer. 

Our aim is to introduce Estonia to the UAE market through our food, in order to bring our countries closer to each other and to raise interest in UAE residents to visit Estonia

I would like to extend my invitation to all UAE residents to visit the Estonia stand at Gulfood located at Sheikh Saeed Hall 3, Dubai World Trade Centre.

Gulfood 2022 will be held  from 13 to 17 February 2022; for more information, visit www.gulfood.com/ and www.visitestonia.com

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