The Klaipėda Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts organised the first business mission for representatives of tourism business in western Lithuania after a two-year break related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The three-day business event for tourism companies from Klaipėda, Palanga and Šilutė is organised in the most important areas of northern German – Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.

The main partners of this business mission of the Klaipėda Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts in Germany are the Chambers of Industry and Commerce of Kiel, Flensburg, Lübeck and Hamburg. According to Viktoras Krolis, Director General of the Chamber, this is particularly important given the ‘weight’ of their activities and reputation in the German economic and business life – the Hamburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce alone unites 147,000 companies, and the Lübeck Chamber of Industry and Commerce has 65,000 members.

The business mission was organised under the project ‘Increasing the Awareness of Lithuanian Seaside Tourism Services and Export Promotion’ under the measure ‘New opportunities LT’ administered by the Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LBSA) ( now the Innovation Agency). The aim of the project is to increase the awareness of Lithuanian seaside tourism opportunities abroad, to renew the flow of foreign tourists, thus contributing to the export of Lithuanian tourism services and the promotion of tourism in seaside resorts.

The Innovation Agency has recently closed the call for applications under the newly announced measure ‘New Opportunities LT’ for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to increase the export of their products, to focus on finding new foreign markets and to expand existing ones. A total of twenty-one applications has been received requesting EUR 5.6 million of EU investment; the measure has a budget of EUR 5 million.

Sixteen applications were received from Vilnius, two applications from Kaunas and one application each from Panevėžys, Šiauliai and Klaipėda regions. Together with our social partners, we hope to intensify the activities of the interested tourism sector and business representatives, and to increase the opportunities for tourism services in the country’, says Agnė Vaitkūnienė, Director of Investment Management Service and Acting Director of the Innovation Agency.

Representatives of western Lithuanian tourism companies will meet during the mission with the heads of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce of Kiel, Flensburg and Lübeck, tourism experts, members of the Tourism Committee of the Kiel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, together with tourism business owners, representatives of travel agencies and tour operators to the Baltic countries. It is planned to discuss aspects of sustainability as a factor of tourism, the possibilities of the Lithuanian coastal region in the field of tourism, to introduce the participants of the business mission and to organise individual business meetings. Representatives of the Foreign Relations, Tourism and Trade Division of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry and heads of travel agencies organising trips to the Baltic States will meet with representatives of the tourism business of western Lithuania in Hamburg.

Hundreds of tourists travel seven times a week on the Klaipėda-Kiel ferry, which connects Lithuania and northern Germany. This year, more cruise ship visits are also cautiously planned in the port city. The first ship, ‘Hamburg’, visited Klaipėda on 11 April.
Kristina Gontier, Head of International Relations and Protocol at the Klaipėda Seaport Authority, says that at the beginning of the year there were fifty-nine cruise ships wishing to arrive in Klaipėda, but with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, companies began to change their routes to bypass Russian ports and diverted their ships to the Baltic countries.

‘The number of cruise ships in Klaipėda this year may be a record. We are expecting around eighty ships, which should carry over 85,000 passengers. These are unusually high and very optimistic figures. We forecast that around 20% of the currently scheduled ships could still be cancelled for various reasons’, said Gontier in a press release issued on 11 April.

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