According to Marje Josing, Director of the Estonian Institute of Economic Research (EKI), prices are traditionally viewed in the context of domestic inflation and the purchasing power of local residents. In addition, cross-country price comparison is also important. According to Eurostat, the average price level in Estonia in 2018 was 20% lower and the Finnish price level was 23% higher than the EU average. The price survey conducted by EKI in June this year also confirmed that services and most of the goods are cheaper in Tallinn than they were at Helsinki at the same time.
The Institute of Economic Research compared the prices of food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and various services in two cities. The survey showed that prices for most goods and services are cheaper in Tallinn than in Helsinki.
Beverage prices in Helsinki are on average 26-151% more expensive. Drinking water Evian (0.5l) is 151%, Coca Cola (0.5l) 148%, beer Heineken 78% and A Le Coq Premium 43% more expensive. In Helsinki, coffee and tea are cheaper (the price of 1 kg of ground coffee is 8.96 euros in Helsinki and 9.18 euros in Tallinn).
Milk and meat products are up to 135% more expensive in Helsinki. The biggest difference lies in the price of chicken fillet: the price of 1 kg fillet in Tallinn is 5.10 euros and in Helsinki 12.01 euros. Whole milk is 19%, plain yogurt is 46% and cheese Edam is 18% more expensive in Helsinki.
Fruits and vegetables are likewise cheaper in Tallinn. Banana kilo cost 1.08 euros in Tallinn and 1.40 euros in Finland.
In terms of service prices, the differences were also big. One night’s accommodation in a comparable hotel in Estonia costs on average 129 euros, in Helsinki 173 euros, being 34% more expensive. Cafes also continue to be cheaper in Tallinn. The price of Pasta Bolognese in Tallinn’s Vapiano is 8.50 euros, in Helsinki 14.90 euros, being 75% more expensive. A cup of cappuccino costs 30% more in Helsinki. There is a rather big difference in prices for hairdressing and dental services. Men’s haircut is 86% and a visit to the dentist is 131% more expensive in Helsinki.
Marje Josing said: “Good price level is one of the factors that encourage tourism. In Estonia, prices have risen over the years, but are still significantly cheaper than at our northern neighbors. Helsinki is the closest big city to Tallinn. Our people visit Finland a lot and many Finnish tourists visit Estonia. It is good for the consumer to know where to make cheap purchases. It is also beneficial for entrepreneurs to have information on prices in neighboring countries to be competitive. Prices are important for consumers and the Estonian price level is favorable for Nordic tourists.”
According to Mait Palts, Chief Commercial Officer of the Chamber of Commerce, the comparative data collected show clearly how important it is to rely on facts and to reject the false statements that have spread in Finnish media. Dissemination of such false information may be one of the reasons why Finnish tourists’ interest in visiting Estonia and buying goods has decreased. “Our companies offer quality services and goods at reasonable prices. Tourists are very welcome to visit us,” said Palts. “Whether someone has deliberately been engaged in disseminating the disproved myth today can, if necessary, be investigated by others, but in broader terms, this shows how important it is to engage in the image representation of one’s own country, and not to let others do it. Politicians, officials, entrepreneurs should contribute to this, and everyone else who has the opportunity to do so,” added Palts.
“In addition to affordable prices, Tallinn hotels and restaurants continue to offer good service, creating a positive experience for tourists visiting our country. All companies involved in the tourism sector stand for a good experience and for increasing the number of recurring clients,” explained Maarika Liivamägi, CEO of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association.