Port of Riga presented in Germany as an attractive destination for sailing tourism
Last week, the largest European sailing and water sports exhibition was held in Düsseldorf, Germany, where representatives of the Freeport of Riga participated to promote Riga as an attractive destination for sailing tourism, says press release of Freeport of Riga Authority.
Last year the Freeport of Riga Authority, together with 9 other yacht harbours in Latvia, began participation in the ERDF project “Improvement of Sailing Infrastructure and Yacht Harbours Network Building in Estonia and Latvia (EST-LAT Harbours)”. The project objective is to build a unified network of yacht harbours in Latvia and Estonia, diversifying and expanding the range of services related to sailing, which would allow the development of sailing tourism in the future, as well as attract more foreign sailors, thus contributing to the increase in the number of yachts entering the ports.
Janis Grislis (Jānis Grīslis), the Commodore of the Riga Port City Yacht Club, says: "It is important for us to draw the attention of our European, including German sailors, who, unlike for example Scandinavian sailors, still know relatively little about sailing tourism opportunities in the Baltic States. In the German market we can attract sailors' interest in Riga by sharing stories about Riga as a Hanseatic city with a rich maritime history and longstanding shipping and trading links to Europe."
In terms of infrastructure development within the framework of the EST-LAT Harbours project, the Freeport of Riga Authority plans to improve the infrastructure of the Ķīpsala yacht harbour. New yacht sewage collection facilities, a floating platform and a floating breakwater will be installed, as well as the navigational sign infrastructure will be improved. It is planned to construct a two-storey floating structure that will accommodate services crucial for sailors, such as a sail repair workshop, utilities and recreational premises. "Upon improvement of the infrastructure, the Port of Riga will offer a significantly higher level of service, which is important for European sailors – lounges, saunas, modern and fast internet," says Janis Grislis.
However, the main benefit from the implementation of the EST-LAT Harbours project will be the overall development of the port network on the coast of Latvia. It should be taken into account that, at a comfortable speed, it is impossible to cover more than 30 nautical miles by water per day in a sailboat. In order to attract sailing tourists, there should be a yacht harbour with high-quality services available to sailors along the coast at intervals of approximately 50 km. By improving the infrastructure of the yachting network, Latvia has all the opportunities to become an attractive tourist destination among sea travellers.
Work on the EST-LAT Harbours project in the Ķīpsala yacht harbour is scheduled to begin this summer and to be finished in 2019. The Freeport of Riga Authority, Liepāja SEZ Authority, the port authorities of Pāvilosta, Roja, Engure, Jūrmala, Skulte, Salacgrīva and Mērsrags, as well as the yacht ports operating in Liepāja, Pāvilosta, Ventspils and Mērsrags are also participating in the project on the part of Latvia.