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West Estonia

See what Western Estonia has to offer - besides conventional fields like timber, agriculture, food industry and tourism, the region´s location by the Baltic Sea and natural environment provide good opportunities for the energy and marine industry.

  • 4 counties
  • 7% of GDP
  • 900+ islands

Overview

West Estonia includes four distinctive counties: Pärnu and Lääne on the mainland, and island counties Saare and Hiiu. The total area of this region is around 11,200 sq km, and the population in 2023 was around 148,000.

Economic activity has been successful in conventional fields – forestry, wood processing, agriculture, (eco)food industry and tourism- greatly influenced the region’s prosperity. Beautiful and pure nature and a secure environment make West Estonia a desired place for people to work, live and rest in.

West Estonia has a remarkable bioeconomy potential and many business opportunities for internationalisation and technology development. The region is economically balanced with a comprehensive range of industries. Furthermore, it has easy access to the surrounding markets via sea, road, air and rail transportation. Regular flights from Tallinn airport are served to Kuressaare and Kärdla, smaller airfields on Kihnu and Ruhnu islands have flights to Pärnu and Kuressaare regional airports.

For centuries, West Estonia has been a popular resort area. The interesting history and adventurous present day have something to offer for everyone’s liking, having received much praise and brought many successful international businesses to the region.

The key industrial sectors in the region are electronics, timber, food, metal, plastic, peat, and textiles. Several local agricultural undertakings are also among the most profitable ones in Estonia. Most farming enterprises are mixed farms with combinations of arable crops and animal husbandry (mostly cattle for meat production), or focus only on crops.

Recreation services and the tourism economy have long traditions and the region´s image as a rehabilitation area dates back to the middle of the 19th century. New blue economy (sustainable use of the marine environment) perspectives are small craft construction, aquaculture and offshore energy. The Small Craft Competence Centre (SCC) is active in scientific research, development projects, and gathering marine industry knowledge. Shipbuilding is the main activity for around a dozen companies in Saaremaa and in addition, several companies are involved in servicing shipbuilding companies.

Saare County is a center for shipbuilding companies.

The average planned capacity per wind park is between 700 and 1,300 MW, with a distance of at least 12 km from the coastline. West Estonia has the highest number of hours of sunlight, needed for solar energy production, among Estonia’s regions.

The most important products from the metal sector are constructions, products for the automobile, railway, and energy industries, and components for the electronics industry.

A colorful forest in Pärnu County. The whole area of West Estonia is known for its bio-resources.

West Estonia encompasses 40% of the forest resources of Estonia. The companies in the timber sector have a major presence according to their number of employees as well as the volume of industrial output. Companies have gradually moved from producing saw material to manufacturing final products: plywood, veneer, fibreboard, windows and doors, furniture, log houses, and prefabricated houses.

Fishing has a long history in the region. Fish are processed, and the products are exported all across Europe.

Key sectors and success stories

Possibilities for cooperation

West Estonia provides a developed ecosystem for many different activities, including a network of developed industrial areas and logistics facilities. The region’s institutions of higher education are ready for cooperation with businesses.

  • Industrial areas – each county center features sites of different size and purpose equipped with technical communications for the fast setup of new industrial facilities. All the areas (including but not limited to Loode-Pärnu Industrial Area, Põlluvälja Industrial Park, Kõrgessaare Technology Park) have easy access to transportation connections, (air)ports and major towns. Cost difference compared to Estonia’s capital area is noticable.

The region of West Estonia features several strong electronics industry companies.

  • Port of Pärnu is visited by more than 500 cargo ships a year and the amount of cargo handled is approximately 2 million tons per year (main export commodities being timber and peat). The rest of the region’s cargo ports are Roomassaare, Rohuküla and Lehtma. The deep water Saaremaa Harbour handles mainly cruise ships but is also capable of receiving cargo vessels.
  • University of Tartu Pärnu College
  • Tallinn University Haapsalu College
  • Pärnu Vocational Education Centre
  • Haapsalu Vocational Education Center
  • Kuressaare Regional Training Center
  • The Small Craft Competence Centre (a marine technology and hydrodynamics R&D unit of TalTech Estonian Maritime Academy in Kuressaare, Saaremaa island)
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    West Estonia

    The map of West Estonia shows major strategic assets such as transportation hubs, industrial parks and educational institutions of the region. To go into more detail, these websites can be useful when interested in West Estonia:

    You are also welcome to send us a request for personal e-consulting to obtain more specific information.

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