BUSINESS

Saturation signs for Athens hotels

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Tourism

Signs over the last few months that Athens hotels may be reaching saturation point were confirmed on Thursday as first-quarter data indicated an 6.8 percent decline in occupancy and revenues per available room on an annual basis. The average room rate remained the same as a year earlier.

The figures compiled by the Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hoteliers Association and GBR Consulting on hotel occupancy rates and revenues showed negative results both for the entire first quarter of the year and each month individually.

The average occupancy rate in Q1 dropped to 63.6 percent in the capital this year, down from 68.2 percent a year earlier, and average earnings per available room dropped to 53.16 euros/night, against 57.03 euros/night last year. The mean room rate stayed put, at 83.60 euros/night.

“This confirms all that we had noted regarding warning signs about the reversal of the positive climate” – pointing to “the beginning of another problematic period for Athens” – the local hoteliers’ association said.

“Athens constitutes a European tourism destination with many minor, everyday problems as well as bigger, hard-to-resolve inherent problems that require immediately solutions, such as the issues of security, cleanliness, structure organization, specialized infrastructure and new investments,” the association added.

Market professionals note that the constant increase in the supply of hotel rooms as well as in short-term rentals is leading the occupancy rates of the capital’s hotels to lower levels. From 2015 to end-2018, over 1,500 new hotel rooms were added in the center of Athens, plus another 500 in the broader Attica region, according to the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels’ Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP). At the same time, the number of short-term rentals in Athens soared from a few hundred to over 12,300, according to AirDNA, a company specializing in the analysis of data from the Airbnb and HomeAway websites.

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