“Joining the Michelin family will make Estonia better known, better understood and more comparable internationally,” notes Andres Sutt, Estonia’s Minister for Enterprise and Information Technology.
This achievement has been preceded by years of excellent work by Estonian top chefs and restaurants, points out Ain Käpp, Chairman of the Board of Estonian Hotels and Restaurants Association. The Michelin inspectors have been following Estonia’s culinary scene for the last few years and are delighted to reveal that this latest addition brings the total number of destinations covered by the Michelin Guide to 37.
Estonian best restaurants to receive Michelin Star(s) in May
The first restaurants worthy of stars, as well as others that have made it into the Guide, will be announced in Tallinn on the 25th of May, this year. Recently, Michelin inspectors have already started to incognito visits to restaurants in Estonia.
“Estonia’s gastronomic scene – which is still somewhat unknown to most – is blessed with strong culinary traditions inspired by many different influences, but a new breed of forward-thinking chefs is now also applying a more modern approach to honouring their country’s culinary heritage,” says Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guides. “We are eager to share our first Michelin Guide restaurant selection to Estonia with food-lovers everywhere.”
“Estonia has achieved a victory that will reconnect our food culture more closely with Europe. In the field of food culture, the impact will certainly be as great as an Oscar in the film world,” says Sutt, Estonia’s Minister for Enterprise and Information Technology.
The number of visits to Estonia to increase, especially from Nordic countries
“At the moment, people don’t come to Estonia for the food, but it’s always the food that’s praised when they leave,” says Liina Maria Lepik, Director of the Estonian Tourism Development Centre. “Thanks to the Michelin Guide, people now are going to come also for the food and Estonian restaurants will get the recognition they deserve.”
According to Lepik, having Michelin Guide in Estonia reduces the seasonality of travel, and will contribute to the development of the Estonian food culture more broadly, so that there will be more motivation to grow excellent local ingredients, become a top chef, create restaurants with world-class taste experiences and service. Based on the experiences of other Michelin Guide countries, the Michelin restaurant concept increases the number of visitors and prolongs their stay.
“The positive effects are also passed on to other businesses, for example, in terms of extra nights in hotels,” Lepik adds. According to Ernst & Young’s Frequent Traveler Survey (2018), nearly 60% of travelers would like to extend their stay at the destination if offered a selection of Michelin-starred restaurants. 80% would extend by and extra night, 50% by two nights. Among business travelers, the percentage is even higher at 80%.
According to a survey of foreign visitors by the Estonian Tourist Board, 85% of foreign tourists also visit Estonian restaurants during their visit. The arrival of Michelin Guide will bring additional visitors who are prepared to travel for the sake of Michelin Guide’s acclaimed restaurants alone, i.e. for whom food is the main travel motivation. It is estimated that the number of such Nordic travelers in Estonia would increase by 6%. In absolute terms, the target group of Nordic food lovers is close to 60,000, to which would be added more than 3,000 other gourmet travelers a year. The additional income from their travel expenditure in Estonia outside the food sector is estimated at €1.5 million per year.
Estonia is the newest addition to the Michelin Guide collection after Dubai. With more than 100 years of history, the Michelin Guide has reached nearly 40 destinations on four continents. Across the globe, the Michelin Guide recommends more than 15,000 restaurants.