2018 for tourism: number of tourists exceeded forecasts

Last year was a record one for the Lithuanian tourism sector. In 2018, 3.6 million tourists travelled in our country and spent at least one night here: of these, 1.7 million were people from abroad, while 1.9 million were from Lithuania. This represents an increase of 11.3% compared to 2017. This growth in the number of nights in tourist accommodation was double the initial forecasts of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Every seventh foreign tourist was German. Visitors from Germany comprised the largest share of tourists in Lithuania last year – 214,100 or 21.6% more than in 2017. This is the greatest number of visitors from Germany in the history of Lithuanian tourism. Each year, increasing numbers of Germans flock to Lithuania, visit the regions, Panemunė, seaside and the banks of the Curonian Lagoon. They spend an average of Eur 450 or more per trip.

“The Lithuanian tourism sector not only achieved record results last year, but also made great progress implementing its long-term strategy: diversify the markets and focus on those which bring the greatest benefit to the Lithuanian economy. These efforts in particular helped Germany to take the lead over the previous, although not especially stable markets, of Belarus and Russia. Likewise, tourists from Germany together with visitors from Japan, China and Israel fall into the group of travellers who spend the most in Lithuania; growth in the number of tourists from these countries last year was the most rapid at 22.9%”, stated the Minister for Economy and Innovations Virginijus Sinkevičius.

The same growth in tourist numbers was recorded for visitors from the United Kingdom. Germany and the UK were noted for the particular growth in numbers (19.1%), i.e. the number of Germans and British people coming to Lithuania was 20% greater than the year before last. The flows of tourists from Italy, France, Spain, and Scandinavia increased by 6.9% on average.

Growth from the far-away markets – in double figures. Investments of Lithuania in tourism marketing in the far-away markets yield obvious results. Last year, the number of tourists from all priority distant markets increased: USA (+11.6 %), Japan (+22.3 %), China (+20.6 %), and Israel (+27.3 %). These markets are significant for the biggest expenditure basket in Lithuania. The United States remain among the top ten states for the second year in succession from which the most tourists arrive. More Americans visited Lithuania than did tourists from neighbouring states – Finland, Denmark, Sweden or Norway.

“The successful 2018 raises great expectations for 2019. The goals of the new public tourism promotion agency, Lithuania Travel, include maintaining a similar growth this year, and increasing both the flows of tourists and number of nights spent in tourist accommodation, as well as the revenues of the tourism sector. We will keep working in target markets in Europe; we have also planned numerous activities in the distant markets”, says the head of Lithuania Travel Dalius Morkvėnas.

Lithuania established itself as one of the leaders by the growth of the number of nights spent in tourist accommodation in the EU. Foreign tourists spent 3.7 million nights in Lithuania, an increase of 8.9 % over last year. In 2018, Lithuania was also one of the leaders by the growth of total nights spent in tourist accommodation according to Eurostat. According to the EU statistical authority, last year Lithuania was in second place.

TOP 5 countries have not changed for 10 years. The majority (51.8 %) of foreign tourists came to Lithuania from 5 countries: Germany, Russia, Poland, Belarus and Latvia.

TOP10 countries by the number of arriving tourists:



Annual change



















United Kingdom












The interest of Lithuanians in their country keeps growing. Incoming and local tourism divide the Lithuanian tourism market in half: Lithuanians who travelled within the country and stayed in tourist accommodation comprised 51.8% of the market (1.9 million tourists in total or 12.4% more than over the same period last year), whereas foreigners – 48.2 % of the Lithuanian tourism market.

Data of Statistics Lithuania do not include the lodgers of rural tourism establishments and private sector or the Airbnb network that is rapidly gaining popularity. According to the estimates of the public tourism promotion agency Lithuania Travel, these indicators would represent an additional 30% of tourists who travelled in Lithuania and stayed at least one night.