In terms of overall economic contribution, the travel and tourism sector in Latvia is set to grow significantly in 2014. So, why could this year be the perfect time to visit the Baltic state?
The World Travel and Tourism Council regularly analyses the impact of the sector on the global economy and a 4.3% rise is expected this year.
With almost 70,000 jobs in Latvia directly and indirectly related to tourism and with high levels of investment, it is certainly a country that is prepared for international visitors.
Investment is expected to increase further in 2014, meaning the levels of attractions and facilities across the country will continue to improve.
A Capital of Culture
On top of that, the capital Riga is also in the midst of year-long celebrations, after being jointly named European Capital of Culture alongside Umea in northern Sweden.
The city suffered greatly during the Second World War and from the fall of Communism, but now it has been beautifully restored to reflect the wide range of cultures that now inhabit the region.
Latvia’s idiosyncratic capital has seen many conflicts during its history, but none affected it as greatly as when under Nazi occupation.
Throughout the city there are memorials and museums to remind visitors of the past and many of these are being carefully and lovingly restored to their former glories.
The same can be said of the magnificent Riga castle, which takes pride of place on the banks of the River Daugava.
An impressive mix of culture, history and art
Meanwhile, those looking for some of the finest art nouveau architecture should look no further than the Latvian capital, renowned for its vast selection of charismatic buildings.
More than a third of Latvia’s population inhabits the city, while those looking for an easy way to get around can use one of the many tram and bus routes that exist within the city.
Beyond the capital lies a country that is also steeped in history, with reminders dotted all over the place to two global conflicts, the Napoleonic Wars and periods of unrest dating back hundreds of years.
Temperatures can struggle to reach 20 degrees, even in the height of summer, but the stunning scenery, hugely impressive architecture and rich history make Latvia a beautiful holiday destination.
Financing a trip
Using a prepaid card when travelling abroad is a great way of ensuring a holiday stays within budget regardless of where you are heading, as only money on the card can be spent.
Other funds can always be added to the card should people require it while they are away though, while there is a reduced need to carry lots of travellers’ cheques or foreign currency.
There is also additional protection if the card should be misplaced, as funds can be transferred to a new card with the minimum of fuss.