Vilnius that surpassed one million for the first time last year welcomed this year's millionth traveler on December 14, 2017. The city is marking this milestone by inviting the millionth tourist to take part in a celebration. However, this year the celebration is taking place two weeks earlier than it did last year, which reflects that the number of visitors to Lithuania’s capital is growing steadily.
This year’s millionth tourist is a Germany-based Estonian named Christian Veske who came to Vilnius from Frankfurt am Main today at 2:10 p.m. on a Lufthansa flight to spend a week here with his family – partner Margit Sarv and daughter Saara Salme Veske.
“This was totally unexpected for me, because I have never won any lottery in my life. It is wonderful! I will definitely come back to Vilnius with my family,” said Mr. Veske.
“We are happy to welcome you as the millionth guest to Lithuania’s capital and hope that your time spent in our beloved city is full of pleasant impressions. We will be looking forward to having you back again and again,” said Go Vilnius Director Inga Romanovskienė after giving the city’s millionth visitor a gift to commemorate the occasion.
The gift Go Vilnius prepared for the special guest would make most wish they were the millionth visitor to the city. According to Ms. Romanovskienė, the city’s tourism and business development agency hopes that the guest will be impressed not only by the unexpected greeting he was met with at the airport or their first visit to Vilnius, but will also be encouraged to come for a weekend trip to Vilnius another time. To encourage this, Mr. Veske was given a weekend trip to Vilnius that includes a stay at the Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square in the heart of the Old Town. In addition, the guest will be treated to a sightseeing tour around Vilnius’ most beautiful and impressive sites
“We are pleased that we are able to congratulate the millionth tourist earlier than last year. Our forecasts show that over 1.2 million tourists will visit Vilnius in 2017, which is approximately 4% more than last year,” Inga remarked. “Next year, new large hotels and a new museum will open their doors in Vilnius, and marketing efforts will be enhanced. Therefore, we expect even faster growth in the number of tourists.”
The coming year is expected to bring even better results in the capital’s tourism sector. For this to happen, the city, together with tourism sector professionals, are increasing their efforts. In 2018 three new hotels (Courtyard by Marriot Vilnius City Centre, Ibis Vilnius Centre, Hotel Pacai) will open their doors in Vilnius. Moreover, the city’s new modern art museum “Mo Museum” will become the latest tourist attraction next autumn, and exposition spaces in the Palace of Grand Dukes will double. A strong injection in enhancing the international competitiveness of Vilnius will be made through the Vilnius tourist tax, which will begin a collection campaign in July 2018. The money collected through the tax will be used to increase global awareness of the city, foster the conference tourism sector, improve the city’s international accessibility, and increase the attractiveness of Vilnius in the eyes of tourists.