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Sectors

Automotive

 

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Infrastructure

 

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Oil and Gas

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Creative and Media

 

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Renewable Energy

 

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Technology

 

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Top sectors for investment

AUTOMOTIVE - Czech Republic

As a result of its long industrial tradition and ability to compete on the global level, the Czech Republic has achieved one of the highest concentrations of automotive manufacturing, design and R&D activity in the world. With passenger car production at 134 vehicles per 1,000 persons in 2017, the Czech Republic has maintained its supreme position among world automotive leaders in terms of per-capita output. Skoda Auto is the most significant Czech carmaker.

 

AEROSPACE - Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has a long aviation tradition dating back to the early 20th century and has always had a strong presence in the sector. Over the years, the country has made a name for itself based on outstanding quality, reliability and innovation in the industry. From basic production to final aircraft assembly and cutting-edge R&D programs, the local aerospace industry has progressed significantly and simply cannot be overlooked.

 

ADVANCED ENGINEERING - Czech Republic

The Czech engineering sector has been transformed over the past twenty-five years by globalisation, technology and the growth of other emerging markets. The Czech Republic has responded to these fundamental changes by attracting new investors and moving its manufacturing facilities and activities up the value chain to become the strategic hub of choice for global companies.

 

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING AND ELECTRONICS - Czech Republic

Electrical engineering and electronics is a fast-growing sector due to digitization and miniaturization. More than anything else, the success of the electronics sector in the Czech Republic is based on its long tradition here and the extensive skills of its employees. Firms based in the Czech Republic are active in every possible field of the industry, but are particularly strong in manufacturing and R&D activities.

 

ICT - Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is one of Europe’s top locations for ICT investments. Repeatedly recognised by various researchers, this fact is confirmed by the strong inflow of high-value-added projects of the world’s top ICT companies and is fuelled by the country’s tradition of excellence in technical fields. The list of successful investors in the country includes Skype, DHL, Tieto, Red Hat, Solarwinds, Oracle, IBM, CA Technologies and many more. Besides foreign investors, there are many internationally successful Czech ICT companies, such as Avast/AVG, GoodData, Y Soft, STRV and Seznam.cz.

 

BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES - Czech Republic

The CEE region is still by far the world´s most popular destination for business services operations. The Czech Republic is one of the leaders in this sector. The most frequently shared services are financial, accounting and IT services and customer support. The shared-services centres of DHL, Accenture, Novartis, Exxonmobil, IBM and more than 240 other companies employ over 89,000 specialists in the Czech Republic. The main reasons for placing SSCs in the CR are the strong potential of graduates and professionals, high-quality office space and cosmopolitan society.

 

NANOTECHNOLOGY - Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has established its own respectable position in the world of nanotechnology thanks to its industrial tradition and well-developed research infrastructure. The Czech company Elmarco became the first supplier of industrial-scale nanofiber production equipment in 2004. Czech companies are highly competitive on the global scale – CRYTUR, IQ Structures or Contipro.

 

 

LIFE SCIENCES - Czech Republic

As the country that laid down the principal laws of heredity, introduced the contact lens to the world and successfully developer the compounds on which current anti-AIDS drugs are based, the Czech Republic is an attractive location for manufacturing and contract R&D operations. Examples of global companies in the CR include Zentiva, Novartis or MSD.

 

CLEANTECH - Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has become the leading country in Central and Eastern Europe with comprehensive and prospective investment conditions targeted specifically at clean technologies. The CR ranks among the global leaders in construction of smart buildings. An example is CTP Invest´s Spielberk Tower. The Czech country has been chosen for instance by ABB, one of the world´s leading companies in the area of automation and energy.

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION - Czech Republic

The Czech republic did a great deal in abiding by the EU´s strategy for sustainable development that calls for a „Smarter and Cleaner Europe“. Investors are keen to invest in the Czech Republic thanks to the country´s long history of manufacturing in the RSE sector dating back to the invention of the Kaplan turbine and Tesla´s production of solar cells. There are also many modern technology centres for R&D, Nupharo Park or Centre of Intelligent Power Engineering.

 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY SERVICES - Czech Republic

Progress in energy management systems is opening up new opportunities for further growth of energy efficiency solutions. Providers of EE services in the CR are include companies such as ENVIROS and SEVEn.

 

TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE - Czech Republic

Czech have the ability, skills and capacity to produce most types of vehicles for road, rail and air transportation. This is valued by a number of international investors – Siemens, Bombardier, GE Aviation or Kapsch. There are several producers of air navigation radars and other equipment for airports and aircraft, as well as for communication in the railway industry (Skoda Transportation and Bonatrans).

 

DEFENCE INDUSTRY - Czech Republic

Though the Czech defence industry does not play such a dominant role today as it did between the world wars, it still holds a significant position among global competitors. For example, passive surveillance systems from the company ERA are a Czech invention coveted by global producers.

 

ICT INDUSTRY - Croatia

Croatia boasts a long and rich history of high-tech innovations, all the way from Nikola Tesla best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternative current (AC) electricity supply system to Marin Soljačić who invented efficient wireless nonradiative mid-range energy transfer. The ICT market in Croatia is constantly increasing and there is a significant growth in the number of startup businesses, and many new state-of-the-art data centres have been opened. Many international companies have recognised the potential of Croatia and have established their innovation centres in Croatia, such as Ericsson, Microsoft and IBM. Croatian companies Nanobit and Infinium were among the Financial Times 1000 Europe’s fastest-growing companies last year.

• 43,978 employees; • €1,630 average gross salary; • 24.1% gross operating rate; • 200.4 % wage adjusted labour productivity

 

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY - Croatia

The development of the Croatian automotive industry is based on a long tradition in related sectors such as metal production, welding, plastics manufacturing and engineering. About 90% of the revenue in the automotive industry is generated through exports due to many companies being successfully integrated into the system of supplying spare parts for the world’s top automobile manufacturers (PSA, GM, Fiat, BMW, Audi, Ford, Renault, Toyota, Volvo, etc.). Last year, Croatian car manufacturer Rimac Automobili launched the Rimac C_Two, powered by a four-motor powertrain system with 1.914 horsepower and instantly available 2300 Nm of torque, acceleration of 0-60 mph in 1.85 seconds and reach of 300 kph in 11.8 seconds. TopGear identified it as one of the fastest and most powerful cars of 2018. The benefits of joining the automotive industry in Croatia are a multi-skilled workforce, excellent infrastructure and proximity to the markets and automotive production facilities in the countries of Western and Central Europe. • 10,050 employees; • €1,088 average gross salary; • 12.5% gross operating rate; • The share of the automotive industry in total exports is 4.7%.

 

BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICE CENTRES - Croatia

Croatia offers affordable quality to any investor wishing to open a business support service centre through the optimum mix of the highly skilled and multilingual workforce where more than 90% of people aged 15-34 speak at least one foreign language and labour costs well below the EU average. This was already recognized by large companies like the IBM, Teva, Yazaki and DT which have all opened business support service centres in Croatia. Expanding range of services and the growing share of advanced, knowledge-intensive tasks in the structure of services performed in the business support service centres point to the steady evolution and expansion of the sector. • 3,327 employees

• €1,059 average gross salary; • 15.9% gross operating rate; • 142.3% wage adjusted labour productivity

 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – Slovenia

Artificial Intelligence: More Than Meets the Eye.

Artificial intelligence is beyond a doubt one of the most, if not the most, exciting areas of computer science. The Slovenian Jozef Stefan Institute (IJS) plays an important role in this field of academic research with far reaching practical applications.

 

The AI department of the institute led by Dr Dunja Mladenić might not be so known to the general public, yet its data mining solutions were used by global media giants like The New York Times and Bloomberg. Take the IJS's latest product Event Registry and its spin-off company Quintelligence.  A unique tool for real-time collection and analysis of news published around the globe, the system analyses news coming from over 100,000 sources in different languages. Sources also include blogs and tweets. A user of Event Registry can track how news spreads around the world, the development of the story and the context in which it appears. The system allows for exploring of trends as well as making predictions on how news would spread. It is an invaluable tool for media publishers and companies alike. For now the system can only analyse text based sources, but researchers are planning to develop an extension which could follow news on television.

 

Developed with the help of European funding, Event registry is an entirely Slovenian product based on almost two decades of research. A few years ago the same group of researchers developed a system they called the NYT Miner - a data mining solution developed to follow the behaviour of readers of the New York Times website. Other areas of the IJS's AI department include machine learning, semantic technologies, social network analysis and natural language processing and technologies. The department collaborates with a number of international academic institutions and companies. One of the companies closely linked with the IJS's AI laboratory is a US company Cycorp, “a leading provider of semantic technologies that bring a new level of intelligence and common sense reasoning to a wide variety of software applications.” Cycorp is developing a project named Cyc - the ambitious project, the ultimate goal of which is to enable AI applications to perform human-like reasoning, was started back in 1984 by Texan computer scientist Doug Lenat. Cycorp’s only company outside of Texas is located in Ljubljana and has close links to the IJS. Cycorp Europe is led by Michael Witbrock, who is also Cycorp’s vice president of research. Witbrock is also chief technology officer of another IJS spin off, a company called Envigence. Based in Solkan, near the Italian border, Envigence develops environmental intelligence systems - to be used in smart communities, for example.

 

While key personnel from Cycorp are active in Slovenia, local computer scientists are working in leading global research institutions. Jure Leskovec, an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford University, is one of the leading experts on mining and modelling of large social and information networks like Facebook or Twitter. In simple terms, Leskovec uses huge datasets generated by social networks as raw material to analyse and identify fundamental patterns of human behaviour. His models can, for example, predict which news could become viral. Not long ago Leskovec and his colleague Julian McAuley developed an algorithm that automatically divides Facebook friends into different social circles. In 2015 he co-authored a research paper on antisocial behaviour in online discussion communities. A group of researchers including Leskovec developed a model which could predict patterns and identify online troublemakers (so called trolls) in advance. At 34 years of age Leskovec is the youngest to bear the prestigious title of Slovenian Ambassador of Science. On the web he is also known as “Mr Context”. In his words, he uses terabytes of data as a telescope or “a sensor into human life”: “what wasn’t visible before is visible now”.

 

PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY – Slovenia

Slovenian pharmaceutical industry remains strong

Slovenian pharmaceutical industry remains to be one of the country's leading exporters. The main two pharmaceutical companies, Krka (Rank 5 on this year's edition of TOP300) and Lek (Rank 7), are among the largest and most profitable Slovenian companies. The two arch rivals in Slovenian pharmacy share a number of common characteristics: they are similar in size, financially very successful with strong R&D departments, both are generic drug producers with a global presence and special emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia. In one aspect they significantly differ: while Krka is a stockholder company listed in Warsaw’s stock exchange, Lek is a part of global pharmaceutical giant Novartis, more precisely its generic drug group Sandoz.

 

Krka, located in Novo mesto (home town of another Slovenian exporting champion Revoz, a part of the Group Renault), has for years been financially the most successful company in Slovenia. While its revenues reached 1.2 billion euros in 2014, the company posted net profits of 144 million euros – more than any other Slovenian business. No other Slovenian stock performs as well as Krka’s – its value grew steadily during the recent financial crisis. 94 per cent of Krka’s sales are made outside of Slovenia. Krka’s largest single market is Russia (31 per cent share of total revenues), yet growth is highest in Western Europe, in Germany in particular (55 per cent revenue growth in 2014).

 

The value of Krka’s investments last year reached 14.6 per cent of its total revenues. A significant part of the investments went into Krka’s own R&D, one of the strongest in Slovenia. In most of the areas Krka outperforms its Ljubljana based rival Lek. Yet R&D is the field where Krka could be behind Lek. Novartis invested heavily in its new Slovenian subsidiary, in particular in its laboratories and development centres. Only between 2003 and 2010 Novartis invested 900 million euros in Lek, and one half of the sum went into R&D. Lek’s role in the Sandoz group is, among others, to act as a global development centre for technologically demanding products and technologies, and a Sandoz competence centre in the field of biosimilar products. This field represents state of the art technology in the pharmaceutical industry. Sandoz is a global leader in biosimilar drugs and recently managed to get the very first approval for the biosimilar drug (filgastrim) from the US FDA agency. Lek’s researchers played a crucial role in developing the drug.

 

The background of the success of both Slovenian pharmaceutical companies is strong academic research, carried out by the country's two leading institutes, Institute Josef Stefan and the National Institute of Chemistry, and the University of Ljubljana. Both institutes have strong focus on biochemistry and biotechnology and work hand in hand with the industry. Strong academic research also creates fertile ground for small innovative companies - and also for foreign investment. Biogen Slovenia, for example, is a daughter company of leading global biotech company Biogen: the Slovenian subsidiary develops medicine to help people with multiple sclerosis. 

 

Overall, there are 24 pharmaceutical companies registered in Slovenia with Krka and Lek making over 95 per cent of the total revenues in the industry. The rest of the companies are very small - most have less than 10 employees. Some, like Marifarm or Galex, are slightly larger with up to 50 employees and a small production focused mostly on generic drug and self-medication products. Among the micro companies, however, there are a few interesting start-ups. Just to give one example: young company Jafral develops bacteriophages - a potential major break-through in pharmacy. True, these companies are tiny and to a large degree unknown. But let’s not forget: 60 years ago Krka was nothing but a small lab with few employees and no revenues to speak of.

 

DESIGN - Slovenia

New Slovenian design: it’s all about wood

Over the last half century, the international event Biennial of Design (BIO) has evolved from a traditional exhibition of designed objects - being the first such biennial in Europe in 1963 - to a completely new format more in line with the demands of the 21st century. Over the years BIO has contributed significantly to the development of Slovenian design, with its influence being especially strong on the latest generation of designers, who are globally oriented, proficient in use of Kickstarter and other social networks, and increasingly likely to use traditional materials and methods in their work.

 

This year’s BIO is held under the title “Faraway, So Close”, and focuses on Slovenia’s main potential, at least in the eyes of the curators, its landscape. In the words of the organizers, BIO is ”structured as a long-term collaborative process, where teams of designers and multidisciplinary agents develop alternatives to established systems”. The focus has thus shifted from traditional designed object to the use of design “as a tool to question and improve our daily life”. This year the curators have sent international teams of designers to some of the typical landscapes of Slovenia: the woods, the karst underground, mining areas, the plains of the Pannonian Basin, the coast, and the Alps. The event thus takes place in seven locations, not only in Ljubljana, but also in Grosuplje, Kočevje, Kobarid, Lendava, Trbovlje and Piran. The teams of designers have cooperated with local organizations and businesses to explore “new models and strategies for tourism, for marketing and presenting attractions, for food production, and for the development and growth of new activities.”

 

There is little doubt that the biennial has contributed greatly to the development of Slovenian design, and in recent years we have seen a real flourishing in this area, as a new generation of Slovenian designers who adopt novel approaches has become increasingly visible. These members of the new wave of Slovenian design share many common characteristics, and perhaps most noticeable of all is a focus on wood, combine new forms or usages with traditional materials and techniques.

 

Ribrand, for example, is a modern brand of wooden products preserving the woodworking traditions of the Ribnica Valley, and combining these with modern forms and technologies. Toni Kancilja’s Istra composition is inspired by traditional drawers and cabinets from the Slovenian part of Istria, and is made of massive pieces of walnut or wild cherry tree. Tok Tok creates wooden furniture in close cooperation with Slovenian craftsmen, using locally-sourced materials, while not being limited to traditional furniture. For example, their highly original wooden speaker for smartphones, called Trobla, amplifies sound without electronic components or batteries. Another young designer, Luka Bassanesse, has created both traditionally inspired furniture, as well as an iPhone wireless charging case and a new shape for kitchen blenders.

 

“Kredenca”, a kind of kitchen cabinet, were once a central element in Slovenian homes, and the designers Matic Lenaršič and Jernej Koželj have adapted this traditional piece of furniture to meet the needs of contemporary consumers. Their solution uses harmonica pleats and design elements drawn from origami, and has won awards in both Slovenia and abroad.

 

The Wilsonic Design team has also collected several prestigious awards since it was founded in the year 2000. They cooperate with top Slovenian companies, like Adria Mobil, Hidria, Tam and Kolektor, while their design solutions have been applied in products ranging from electronic roulette machines to airport buses, caravans, and medical examination tables. They have received two Red Dot Awards for Product Design, one in 2012 for their Googy rocking horse, and another in 2014 for Hidria’s high performance fans. They note that the Googy soft rocking horse is “a designer's reply to the challenge of conventional rocking horses, which can be quite unforgiving to the clumsy approaches of toddlers and younger children.” This item is produced by Oblazinjeno pohištvo Novak, and received a gold medal along with being ranked by Zero Design magazine as among the six best featured products shown at the Milan Design Week.

 

The wooden buildings created by young Slovenian architects also often receive awards and are featured in international design magazines, like Dezeen. The youngest designers, however, are still waiting for wider recognition, and to speed up the process they now turn to social networks and, most of all, the Kickstarter funding platform. A typical example is the ONDU range of wooden pinhole cameras. This lo-tech approach to photography was presented on Kickstarter in 2013 with the goal of raising 10,000 US dollars, and it ended up with almost 110,000.

 

 

 

ICT & START-UP & ENGINEERING - Latvia

 

  • Latvia ranks among the top ten countries globally by average measured internet connection speed

  • ICT sector comprises about 4.1 % of the GDP of Latvia, its importance goes well beyond

  • In 2017, there were more than 6 500 companies operating within the ICT sector, where:

    • About 120 of them were producing ICT equipment

    • 550 were operating in the telecommunications industry

    • More than 5 000 companies specialized in other ICT services

  • In 2017, the number of employees in the ICT sector was almost 34 000, providing a turnover exceeding 3.6 billion Euros, with 50% labelled for exports

  • The sector also generates around ¼ of a billion Euro profit, while providing for 7% of total governmental tax revenues

  • With the impressive success of the Latvian ITC industry, a need for additional workforce for the sector was needed; hence, Latvian private industry (ITC and GBS companies) in partnership with universities and the government has started a project to create a centre for quality Computer Science Higher Education in Latvia:

    • The aim is to arrive at additional 3 000 graduates (both undergrads and postgrads) per year from Latvia, the region and the CIS countries to support the local labour pool

    • Providing such solution by initiating strategic partnerships between international and local universities in developing dual education programmes, while exploiting existing high-class infrastructure established in Latvia, developed also via EU funding

    • And the government providing additional support in marginally expanding infrastructure and assisting in marketing of the partnerships

  • The main trade partners of ICT service sector were Sweden, the USA and Ireland

    • Procuring services in traditional ICT subsectors, but also in smart mobility, artificial intelligence and blockchain

  • Business process support functions are a rapidly growing niche industry

    • Key functional coverage includes fields of finance & control, IT and customer service / help-desk, secondary functions include procurement, HR, CRM and market research services

    • There are 24 SSCs and around 30 BPOs operating in Latvia, mostly in Riga

    • Sector employs about 8 700 employees, which translates into 1.3 % of people living in Riga, so new entrants are welcome without significant impact to existing players

    • Sector is highly innovative in Latvia – 55% of companies are getting ready for automation, while remaining have either introduced simple automation (35%) or RPA to AI level (10%) automation

    • Low level of sector saturation – about 1% of working population

  • Latvia and Riga provide excellent start-up infrastructure:

    • Infrastructure – both internet speed (TOP 10 in the world) and flight connections (Riga International Airport servicing close to 50% of all the Baltic flights)

      • Latvian companies are also global pioneers in 5G development

    • Start-up law and other exceptional normative regulations for innovation

      • Including “start-up visas”, 45% employment cost government co-financing and innovation support programmes

    • Latvia and Riga provide excellent living and leisure conditions – cities are smart yet liveable, more than half of Latvia is covered with forests and wilderness, and one of the longest beach coastlines in the region also can be found here

    • Today around 400 start-up companies, mainly operating in fintech, deeptech, drones and SaaS

  • Metalworking, electronics & engineering traditions is one of the main reasons why Latvia has become a prominent deeptech start-up location

  • In Latvia, metalworking accounts on average for 18% to 20% of added-value output

  • Around 1/3 of total Latvian exports is comprised by various engineering products

  • According to Eurostat, Latvia has the highest wage adjusted labour productivity in the Central and Eastern European region in metalworking industry

  • Main activities of the industry are centred around export-oriented contract manufacturing (for automotive and electronics industries) and metal processing

 

Additional information:

 

 

TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS - Latvia

 

  • The transport sector is one of the strongest industrial sectors in Latvia and largest in services, contributing 9% to 10% of GDP

  • Nearly 90 % of turnover in Latvian ports, more than 80 % of rail cargo, and the major proportion of oil and oil products transported via trunk pipeline systems is transit

  • More than 8 % of Latvia's labour force are engaged in the transport sector and servicing of transit cargo – about 75 000 to 80 000 people

  • Railways link Latvia with Russia, CIS, the neighbouring Baltic States, and through Poland with rest of Europe

  • Currently state-owned operator Latvian Railways functions mostly as a transit trunk-line with as much as 80 % of total freight volumes being transit connected to Latvian ports

    • About 30 % of freight rolling-stock being tanker wagons.

  • At present, the east-west railway corridor has the capacity to transport 50 million tonnes of cargo annually and reconstruction plans to substantially increase this figure have been approved

  • To improve the rail connection between Central and Northern Europe and Germany, the Rail Baltica project has been launched envisioning railway connection between Tallinn and Warsaw (235 km in Latvia)

  • As a gigantic infrastructure project for the region, Rail Baltica will essentially affect the Baltic construction market, with the total estimated cost of the project 5.8 billion Euros in all three countries. Estimated commissioning in 2026

    • Feasibility, planning and consulting was carried out by AECOM (US based, but European operations from the UK)

    • While infrastructure management model is assessed by Atkins (UK), part of SNC-Lavalin group (Canada)

  • Latvia also has three major ice-free ports - Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja, with total handling capacity of 120 million tons per year

    • The three major ports have been accorded favourable incentive schemes to help attract new business (80-100 % relief on direct taxes and significant discounts on indirect taxes (VAT, Excise))

    • Ventspils and Riga Ports are Free Ports whereas the entire city and port of Liepaja comprise a Special Economic Zone

    • Available area of 500+ ha for port infrastructure and logistics development in Riga alone

  • Riga International Airport is the largest international aviation company in the Baltic states and the main air traffic centre in this region

    • The RIGA International Airport renders both aviation (airplane, passenger and cargo attendance) and non-aviation services (lease, parking spaces, VIP centre services, etc.)

    • The construction of the Rail Baltica will provide even further regional advantages, providing efficient and fast connections from regional centres to the central hub of Baltic and Northern European air traffic

    • It attends both national and international airlines becoming one of the few European airports that attends both full service and low costs airlines

    • It serves more than 60 destinations in winter and 90 in summer season

    • In 2018, Riga international Airport serviced slightly more than 7 million passengers (16 % more than 2017) and it is by far the largest airport in the Baltic States, servicing nearly half of all the Baltic passengers

    • Particularly interesting is that Riga – London is the busiest route in the Baltic region, servicing more than 600 000 passengers annually (2018);

    • AirBaltic TOP10 airline in the Europe

 

Additional information:

 

 

MEETINGS, INCENTIVES, CONFERENCING AND EXHIBITIONS TOURISM - Latvia

 

  • Due to several infrastructure, quality of life and productivity unique advantages, the tourism field of “meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions” or MICE in Latvia has grown ever so popular among foreign businesses;

  • Riga and Latvia as a location is well connected, affordable, reliable and safe

    • 100+ direct destinations from Riga International Airport

    • For example, room rates for centrally located Radisson Blu hotels from 20% to 50% lower than other Scandinavian cities (Tallinn, Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen)

    • More than 80 hotels, 13 500 beds and several historical manor and palace venues

  • Similarly, Latvia brings world-class gastronomy, with Riga considered the gastronomic capital of the Baltics

  • Diverse cultural scene and historical heritage, contributing to the development of service industry in Riga region

  • As well as numerous cultural and incentive activities, which is highlighted by both the fact that Riga has been the European capital of culture and success of Latvian culture on international stage

    • I.e. Andris Nelsons multiple Grammy winner and the conductor of the New Year Wiener Philharmoniker concert 2020

 

Additional information: