Lithuania is to close its UK office at the end of the week, blaming "unforeseen circumstances" for the decision.
The State Department of Tourism said it will close all national tourism offices abroad and focus overseas marketing and PR centrally from Lithuania. The move seems odd given that as recently as June last year, the country was celebrating a 21% increase in arrivals from the UK.
The UK office opened in November 2006, when fewer than 40,000 British tourists visited the country. In June last year it hosted the AITO tour operators and agents annual conference, following the launch of Wizz Air flights from Luton and Doncaster to Vilnius and Ryanair's launch of a daily service from Stansted.
At the conference, the tourist office said it was planning a new social media campaign to encourage more students and young travellers to take advantage of the low-cost flights to visit Lithuania.
UK director Augusta Jaudegyte, who has been based in London for three years, said she will remain in the UK, where she is hoping to find another role within the travel industry. She said she was "looking forward to the new challenges and starting a new phase".
In future, trade enquiries about Lithuania should be directed to the regional tourism information centres, added Jaudegyte.
By Linsey McNeill
Tuesday, January 17, 2012