TOURISM

Winter resorts are suffering

Winter resorts are suffering

Despite the exceptional performance for several hotels in various destinations over Christmas and New Year’s, winter resorts showed in 2021 the worst figures among all hotel categories.

The pandemic, the travel restrictions early last year and certainly the short-term property rentals are to blame for that picture.

According to a survey by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) for the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, mountain hotels constitute 11% of all hotels in the country. Chamber data show there 1,106 hotels in the category of hotels based at an altitude of at least 300 meters. Four out of five are classified as family businesses, based on their room number, i.e. up to 20: They are 763 units.

From late November up to mid-January 97.2% of those units gradually went into operation. However their average occupancy did not exceed 60%, even though over the long holidays of Christmas, New Year’s and Epiphany popular destinations such as Arachova reported rates in excess of 90%.

Based on the survey for the Chamber, in late November the average occupancy stood at 35%. A few days before Christmas it climbed to 51.3%, it peaked at 59.7% in the last week of 2021 and then receded to 48.3% in this year’s first week. After the expiry of the festive season, i.e. the week January 10-16, occupancy crumbled to just 20%.

The average occupancy rates refer not only to weekends and holidays but to the entire week. As this year trips tended to be shorter, while Christmas and New year’s fell on a Saturday, there were even days with low occupancy during the festive period.

Prices followed the same course as occupancy: The average room rates came to 65 euros in mid-December, rose around Christmas to €89, slipped to €86 around New Year’s and gradually eased to €78 around Epiphany and €61 in mid-January.

Chamber president Alexandros Vassilikos stresses this is the hotel category that needs state support most; that could be in the form of the suspension of the state loan repayment, concerning the “Deposit To Be Returned”.