BUSINESS

Five-star hotels close to capacity, pushing prices up

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Tourism

Luxury travelers who have left their holiday bookings until the last minute this month may find the prices steep even by their standards.

According to research conducted by Kathimerini, the occupancy rate of five-star hotels at many popular destinations in Greece during mid-August is close to 100 percent. There has been high demand for rooms at luxury resorts since the start of the tourism season, especially at locations that attract high-income visitors. One of the biggest online travel agents has put the average occupancy rate for luxury accommodation on Santorini, Corfu and Rhodes at about 99 percent.

On Myconos, the average occupancy rate is 97 percent, while at the Cretan resort of Elounda it is 89 percent. The cost of any rooms or suites still available at these locations is extremely high. For example, the price of a double room at a five-star hotel on Santorini for five nights between August 11 and 16 is 40,000 euros. On Corfu, the equivalent is 15,244 euros, on Myconos 11,647 euros, at Elounda 7,640 euros and on Rhodes 6,200 euros.

According to recent data released by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, 444 luxury hotels operate in Greece, out of a total 9,730 units. Their total capacity runs to 67,407 rooms that can sleep 137,210 people. The total number of hotel rooms in Greece is 407,146, which can provide accommodation for up to 788,553 people.

In terms of regional location, most five-star hotels can be found in the southern Aegean. This area has 144 luxury hotels, with a total of 19,715 rooms that can sleep 40,742 people. Crete is next on the list with 97 five-star hotels, which have 18,844 rooms that can provide beds for 40,742 visitors.

Based on research carried out by National Bank (NBG), the proportion of high-income tourists visiting Greece fell from 27 percent of the total in 2008 to 23 percent in 2016. The study highlights that improving the mix of tourists who visit Greece goes hand-in-hand with the quality of services offered by hotels. The report points out that five-star units attract 52 percent of visitors with large incomes, while those with fewer stars draw just 6 percent.

The study also points out that the quality of hotels is not enough to counter the high seasonality of tourism in Greece. Almost 50 percent of income is earned by five-star hotels and those with fewer stars during the same two-month period in the summer.

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