Estonia is a fast-growing destination where the number of international conferences held each year has risen sharply. So what makes Estonia such a popular choice for event planners?
A Fresh Destination
For starters, Estonia is a fresh, new, undiscovered option. We all know that many delegates travel often and have already been to the long-established conference cities – maybe even more than once. For most delegates, this is completely new and undiscovered part of Europe. Estonia is full of positive surprises and will definately exceed your guests´expectations. Breaking from the herd and giving delegates the chance to see this different corner of Europe is bound to boost their attendance as well as their satisfaction.
Amazing, historic atmosphere
On its own though, Estonia is simply an amazing locale where the conference cities are packed with historic charm. Tallinn’s fairytale-like Old Town, among the best preserved medieval-era city centres in Europe, never fails to astonish visitors. Other conference spots, such as the university town of Tartu, offer their own centuries-old milieux in quieter surroundings, while vast areas of unspoiled nature are never far away.
All these layers of history and well kept architecture mean the country can offer some unforgettably unique event venues. How about holding your meeting in Tallinn’s gothic Town Hall, Tartu University’s grand auditorium or an ornate, renaissance-style guild house? Why not have a gala dinner in a medieval tower, a century-old seaplane harbour or an old power plant that’s been converted into a cultural space?
A blend of Old and New, Medieval and Modern
Even with all its historic ambience, Estonia is surprisingly modern. Most of the hotels and conference facilities were built or renovated in the last few years, and offer high standards at very reasonable prices. Tallinn is home to a buzzing restaurant scene, where seasonal, Nordic style-cuisine and affordable gourmet are the bywords. And as one of the world’s most tech-savvy countries, Estonia also earns points for the availability of free Wi-Fi just about everywhere – in hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, inter-city buses and even at the beach.
One of the main conveniences of organising anything in Estonia is that it’s small and hassle-free. Compact city centres mean your individual delegates or groups will be making quick, 5-minute walks to get from place to place, rather than dealing with buses or taxis. A transfer from Tallinn’s airport to the heart of the town takes as little as 10 minutes. Travelling from the city to a nature site can take 15 minutes. A trek from one end of the country to another rarely takes more than 3 hours. Estonia’s smallness factor also means that your small or medium-sized event is more likely to make a splash. The country’s largest meeting hall has 1,800 seats, so you can be sure that if your conference has 1,000 delegates, it will stand out and be noticed on the streets.
Green and Clean
It’s important to remember that Estonia is a green, clean country surrounded by 1,500 islands and mostly covered by forest. Even when you are in the middle of a city, nature areas are never far away. This gives visitors plenty of opportunities for interesting social programmes as well as pre- and post-tours within the cities and beyond. Examples include kayaking, sailing, bogwalking, snowshoeing,visits to the centuries-old manor housesand fishing villages of Lahemaa National Park and many more. Pleasea have a look at our Programmes page to find the most attractive programme for your group.
Though our main conference destinations are the capital city Tallinn and the university Town Tartu, there is a lot of choice for inspiring settings outside the cities as well. For more detailed information have a look at the Off-the-Beaten-Track dedicated page.
One of the World´s Most Advanced E-Societies
Estonia is famous for creating high-tech solutions and using them in daily life. The examples of popular e-services include e-tax, e-residency, e-elections, e-prescription, digi-ID, and m-parking earning it the nickname “E-Estonia”. Free public wifi is available just everywhere- in hotels, cafés, bars, shopping malls, city squares, parks and even at the beaches. Host your IT-related event in Estonia and your delegates will have the chance to see these systems in action!
Other points that make visiting Estonia effortless are the fact that it’s in the Schengen zone, it uses the euro as its currency, credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere and English is widely spoken. Estonia´s can-do attitude makes setting up your event incredibly easy. The Nordic work culture meants that those in the industry speak English, respond promptly, offer flexible solutions and keep their promises. There´s no bureaucracy and no hidden costs.
Excellent Value For Money
The country has impressed more than a few budget-conscious organisations by offering 5-star quality at 4-star prices. Estonia is considerably than in most of northern and central Europe, especially given the Scandinavian levels of quality.
Organisers of large, international conferences in Estonia may be eligible for cost reimbursements of 15,000 to 30,000 euros, thanks to the return of an EU-funded support scheme. Financed by the EU’s Regional Development Fund and administered by Enterprise Estonia/the Estonian Tourist Board, the grant is available for non-profit events put together with the help of a local organising committee. Other criteria for grant eligibility are that the conference must be international, last at least three days, include a minimum of 500 overnight stays, involve a local or regional sightseeing element and help raise Estonia’s profile as a travel destination. The funds can be used to cover a broad spectrum of conference-related expenses from organisation and marketing to opening and closing events. The aim of the programme is to promote Estonia as a conference destination and increase the number of overnight hotel stays, especially during the low season. The budget for the current funding cycle, i.e. 2015 to 2020, is 300,000 euros per year. For more information and instructions on how to apply, contact Kadri Karu at email@example.com.