Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Riga: A Hard Place to Leave

The Riga Tourism Development Office plans to spend 898,000 lats (approx. 170 EUR) on the "Live Rīga" campaign, aimed at attracting tourists who have not yet experienced credit card fraud, and it will be launched in November 23 in Estonia, Russia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Germany. The message of the campaign will be that Riga is great place to come, but it is hard to leave. Riga councilman Edgars Lazo notes that this slogan has basis in fact, since so many foreigners have been physically prohibited from leaving bars until paying exorbitant checks. "It's something we're already known for," said Lazo, "so we're just dialing it up a bit."
Also Riga will be presented as place where the Christmas tree was born, though Tallinn, Estonia, also makes this claim. "What's it really matter whose tree it is," said Lazo. "We open a manhole in the town square, stick the thing in there. It's a tree for Chrissake."

Bertolt Flick, the CEO of the national carier airBaltic, promises each tourist will leave hundreds of hard currency units in Latvia.

Vilnius Hangs in There
Not wanting to be left out of the Baltic Tourism Club for Kids, the City of Vilnius has announced that as of 1 December, passenger fee for all regular flights will amount to just LTL 4 throughout the year, compared with LTL 10.35 in Riga, LTL 31.74 in Tallinn and LTL 55.2 in Warsaw. The new pricing strategy, the city believes, will make Vilnius the cheapest airport for new flights in Eastern and Northern Europe. "We were also going to start a program where you get a small toy each time you fly," said
Gintaras Sheivaloticius. "You know, like in a Happy Meal. But focus group respondents were more interested in free hookers." Unable to provide prostitutes under Lithuanian law, city spokesman promised "sultry stewardesses on every single flight."

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