MEET ECB MEMBERS: Paul Toots, CEO of Food Sightseeing Estonia
Food Sightseeing Estonia offers unique culinary adventures that cater to both international visitors and local residents alike, specialising in providing rewarding team-building activities for bringing your teams together in Tallinn/Estonia. But what exactly does this entail? We interviewed our CEO, Paul Toots, to learn about the origins of the company and its unique offerings that appeal to both conference clients and corporate events.
What is Food Sightseeing Estonia?
Food Sightseeing Estonia primarily specialises in providing Culinary Discovery Trips, which are creative and thrilling experiences designed for business clients and groups of friends.
The product combines two essential aspects that both foreign visitors and locals look for when spending their free time in the city: exploring the city and savouring the delicious cuisine, all with the aim of ensuring an authentic experience. Food Sightseeing Estonia offers these two experiences in one product – a light and entertaining city tour combined with an exploration of the local food culture, where participants can sample the flavours of Estonia in various cafes, restaurants and markets. It provides a true opportunity to motivate your team and create unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
Established in 2012 our company was founded by seasoned tourism experts who boast an impressive 25 years of experience in the field of Estonian inbound tourism. Food Sightseeing Estonia’s guiding passion lies in providing our clients with memorable travel experiences. Our tours align with the latest trends in global sustainability and are directed by friendly and knowledgeable tour guides. In our personalised experience products, we seamlessly blend local sightseeing with the chance to savour food and drinks that showcase the distinctive flavours of Estonia and the region.
With Food Sightseeing Estonia, you can bring your team together for a memorable post-conference tour in Tallinn by exploring its finest attractions and delving into the city’s rich history. We also provide insights into the evolution of Estonian food culture and the current trends in the local food scene.
What kind of tours do you arrange?
We provide a variety of food tour options, including regularly scheduled tours and customised culinary discovery trips, as well as incentive activities individually tailored for a successful conference tour in Tallinn. Regular tours typically accommodate a group size ranging from 2 to 12 participants. For tailor-made tours, the size of the group can vary based on the specific requirements. To date, the largest group consisted of 200 participants.
Do you arrange tours outside of Tallinn?
If you have a little more time, it is definitely worth considering our day trip to Lahemaa National Park. Estonia’s diverse and largely untouched natural landscapes, including stunning bays, forests, marshes, and bogs, create an excellent backdrop for team-building events. When combined with picnics or the sampling of food and drink in historical fishing villages, bogs and manors, it forms the perfect combination of getting to know Estonia and a unique incentive activity for your team.
Who are the tours designed for?
The target audience of our tours may change slightly depending on the season, but the majority of our clients are foreign tourists visiting Estonia. For them, our unique two-in-one tourism product provides an ideal opportunity to explore its local history, culture and food within a short period of time. Our second significant target group comprises companies and conference attendees in search of a rewarding networking activity in Tallinn. Our tailor-made and highly personalised private tours are the perfect choice for creating unforgettable leisure events.
What tends to surprise foreign visitors about Estonia? What do they enjoy and what are they not so fond of?
While it is challenging to highlight one specific aspect, it’s safe to say that the food culture in Estonia is of a high global standard. Tallinn’s Old Town and the surrounding areas create a captivating blend of history, contemporary life and modern trends. Visitors often find themselves pleasantly surprised by our exceptional food, attentive service, favourable price-to-quality ratio and overall cleanliness. In contrast, it’s difficult to name an aspect that tourists have disliked. All feedback should be considered from the perspective of its author, and when there is an opportunity or a need for change, it’s essential to recognise that life is a process of continuous improvement.
What are the tourists’ favourite places?
Occasionally, when needed, we modify the tour destinations, with the preferences of our target customers always remaining our first priority. This is the case for both regular and customised tours. People continue to appreciate places with spirit; places where the staff are not only eager to provide a memorable dining experience but also a welcoming overall atmosphere. As a rule, we tend to avoid generic tourist traps.
Food Sightseeing Estonia is certified by Travelife. What does this mean?
Travelife is a global sustainable tourism programme categorised into three stages: (1) Travelife Engaged, (2) Travelife Partner and (3) Travelife Certified. Currently, our company holds the Travelife Partner status, and we are steadily moving towards the third stage. We prefer collaborative partners who share our commitment to sustainability and prioritise the use of local raw materials and products. As a company that values safeguarding the environment, we refrain from using disposable plastic and cardboard dishes, among other items.
How do I order a tour?
Our tours can be ordered through our website as well as through well-known tour operators and internet travel agencies operating in the region (TripAdvisor, Viator, GetYourGuide, Withlocals, Airbnb Experiences, etc.)
Which (food-related) places would you recommend visiting in Tallinn while exploring Estonia?
It is challenging to pinpoint just one or two places – and that is not just me being diplomatic! Indeed, preferences are closely tied to the specific goal, moment and mood. In the Old Town of Tallinn, reliable dining options have traditionally included Pegasus, R16 and Lee. In Telliskivi, Kivi Paber Käärid and F-Hoone stand out. There are also a plethora of restaurants in the Rotermann Quarter and Kadriorg. Noa and Peps are great choices, yet there is always room for exploration.