TOURISM

Bookings rate is in free fall

Food service professionals report a major slump in both patron numbers and in turnover

Bookings rate is in free fall

Tourism bookings are failing to pick up and food service turnover has dropped by up to 80%, as the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the growing inflationary pressures have become obvious in the market.

“Where we had 10 bookings in previous years, we now have only one, and that would be from Britons who tend to be less influenced by everything that happens,” said Grigoris Tasios, the president of the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation. He was speaking at a press conference to present the “I Support HORECA” initiative, referring to hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Tasios explained that February and March are the months when provisional bookings are mostly made, as rates are relatively low. He noted that the Poles, who have recently been among the top five visiting nations to Greece, are not making early bookings this year due to fear of the war spreading to their country. The same applies to Romanians. There has also been a major drop in bookings from Germany, to say nothing of visitors from Russia and Ukraine, who are not expected at all this year.

The head of the hoteliers also estimated that this tourism season will start later, as visitors to Greece in springtime usually tend to be older, including age groups that are the most worried about the geopolitical developments. “Although it had appeared that tourism in Athens would go particularly well in April, this is now being put off till later,” he noted.

Meanwhile restaurants and cafes are already recording particularly low visitor rates and turnover, as a result of both the war and the soaring prices. According to Giorgos Kavvathas, the head of the restaurateurs association (POESE), food service has endured a decline of 40-50% in turnover in recent months, with the increased activity at weekends failing to offset the major losses observed on weekdays.

He went on to add that the energy costs for food service establishments have doubled in the last few weeks, while the cost of raw materials for this sector has grown by 44% on average.