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Promoting Lithuania Tourism at the Expo

2010. 10 June

On 8 June 2010 Lithuania's Expo pavilion hosted its one millionth visitor. Officials hope that success will reap benefits for tourism in the Baltic state.

( When Lily He entered Lithuania’s pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo along with her family, she was the one millionth visitor in the five weeks since the Expo began. That’s an excellent response from the people of China
and around the world who have taken the time to see what Lithuania has to offer, believes Pavilion director Indre Kumpikevic.

"Every visitor who enters the Lithuania pavilion is very important to us. The fact that one million visitors so far have shown interest in Lithuania encourages us to present our country with even bigger enthusiasm,” Ms Kumpikevic told Suite101.

Lithuania on the Baltic Sea

So what entices Expo visitors to learn more about Lithuania? For the leisure traveller, what needs knowing before considering Lithuania as a destination? These are questions all countries will be asking of their presence at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. After all, the aim of each and every exhibitor is to make visitors more familiar with its brand, in the hope they will consider a visit or an investment in the future.

Lithuania is one of the former Soviet Baltic states, bordering Latvia, Belarus, Poland and the Kaliningrad region of Russia. Lithuania travel is invariably planned around Vilnius, the capital and largest commercial centre. A picturesque and historic city of over half a million people, Vilnius features the UNESCO world heritage-listed Old Town, a 360 ha. collection of well-preserved buildings set in narrow lanes. This is the place to enjoy the local beer,Lithuania’s national drink, relaxing in one of the many cafés that serve the visitor in style.

Attractions of Vilnius

The Upper Castle on Gediminas Hill and Vilnius Cathedral on the city’s main square are stunning examples of medieval architecture. Next to the cathedral is the Lower Castle, built in the 16th century and extensively renovated recently. There are other significant buildings that emphasise the religious heritage of Vilnius. Some of the best to visit are rhe Gothic Saint Anne’s Church, the Chapel in the Gates of Dawn and the Church of St. Peter and Paul, with its adornment ofmore than 2,000 sculptures and bas-reliefs.

No visit to Vilnius is complete without a ride in a hot-air balloon. The balloon is a symbol of Lithuania’s Expo pavilion, and for good reason. Vilnius is one of the few large centres where the visitor can soar serenely above the city hustle, taking in the sights from a different angle, enjoying the uninterrupted views and the peace of non-mechanised flight. There are several balloon operators located around Vilnius.

The Baltic Shore at Palanga

A summer visit to Lithuania should include the seaside town of Palanga. This is a destination for the active, and the not so energetic. The resorts of Palanga are known for their spas, increasingly popular with tourists wishing to be pampered with professionally applied facials, body treatments and massages. Palanga’s classically designed Botanical Gardens are not to be missed. There the visitor can visit the Amber Museum, which contains the world’s largest collection of amber inclusions – prehistoric insects and plants trapped inside fossilised tree resin.

There’s a visitor tradition to experience in Palanga – watching the sunset from the city’s 500 metre pier that juts into the sea framed by expansive coastal dunes stretching into the distance.

Nature Reserves and Rural Life in Lithuania

With its large national and regional park network and a growing rural tourism industry, there is plenty to do outside the urban centres of Lithuania. Some 12% of Lithuania’s land area is protected as natural or cultural areas of significance, where activities are restricted to protect wildlife and the fabric of traditional country life. Many of the parks contain villages that retain their age-old buildings and unpaved thoroughfares, classified as ethnographic reserves to ensure cultural preservation.

There are many homestays in the Lithuanian countryside. Staying with a local family the visitor can just relax and enjoy the pace of life, experiencing some authentic Eastern Europe farming life for a short while. The countryside provides limitless opportunities for the visitor to learn about Lithuanian culture and enjoy the outdoors - walking, horse riding, cycling and bird watching to name a few activities.

The Lithuania pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010 is an informative and friendly place in which to learn more about the life and times of this European state. “We hope, that more and more people will enter our pavilion, and learn about our country, said Ms Kumpikevic. ‘Then they will be encouraged to visit us in Lithuania."

Reference, Lithuania - A New and Surprising Destination, accessed 10 June 2010