18 June 2020
The hospitality professionals of the Lithuanian capital flew over the city in a hot air balloon carrying the message “Vilnius is calling”. They chose this original way to spread the word that the city is finally opening after months of quarantine.
Vilnius is one of the few capitals in Europe featuring hot air balloon flights over the city. It is also recognised as one of the safest holiday destinations for a memorable post-pandemic trip.
The representatives of museums, guides, tour operators and hospitality professionals together with the mayor Remigijus Šimašius flew in a hot air balloon over the city, inviting the soon-to-come visitors to enjoy the summer in Vilnius. Their balloon carried an inviting message “Vilnius is calling”.
The flight of tourism representatives coincided with the very first hot air balloon competition after the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of hot air balloons were a symbol of the perseverance of the tourism industry, which is starting up again with the help and support of the local people.
The balloon flight over the UNESCO-listed Old Town is one of the greatest attractions for tourists as well as for locals. Balloon flights over the city are possible only in a few other European capitals.
“During the last few decades, hot air balloons have become an important part of the city life,” says Mr. Šimašius.
The hot air balloons never stop exciting not only their passengers, but also people on the ground. Passersby stop in the streets to watch balloons and point them out to each other and to their children.
According to the mayor, hot air balloons were chosen as a sign of hope and strength of Vilnius facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the strict health requirements, the city feels confident to open up for visitors and looks forward to another vibrant summer season.
Travellers from 26 countries are presently allowed to visit Lithuania without being subjected to two weeks of self-isolation. This safe list of countries includes Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Malta, and Spain.
The renewal of international flights and the end of the quarantine regime next week provide even more possibilities to spend holidays in Vilnius, for which the tourism industry of the city has been preparing all along.
“It’s wonderful that we can finally invite visitors to Vilnius,” said Milda Ivanauskienė, the director of MO museum featuring contemporary art.
“For this season we are opening an exhibition of the BAFTA-winning director Peter Greenway and his wife, multimedia artist Saskia Boddeke. We are also continuing the exhibition of the legendary director Jonas Mekas, whose works feature John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Elvis Presley and the Kennedy couple among others.
“It is a great time to discover Vilnius as a centre of art and culture.”