The numbers of Greek guests at the country’s hotels have been in constant decline over the last decade, with more than five out of every six overnight stays concerning foreigners. This is happening in the context of an increase in hotel room availability and in room rates, according to the hoteliers’ chamber.
The annual report by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels’ Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) on the sector’s performance in 2018 showed that 84 percent of overnight stays at Greek hotels concerned foreign guests. The share of Greeks’ overnight stays shrank from 26 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2018.
This illustrates the pressure faced by hotels that depend on domestic tourism, while reflecting the reduction in households’ disposable incomes and the fact that many people simply couldn’t afford to go on holiday during the financial crisis.
At the same time there has also been an increase in the number of hotel units and rooms available, without this coming with any notable increase in occupancy rates. ITEP recorded 9,873 hotels in Greece with some 426,000 rooms in 2018, up from 9,661 units with 399,000 rooms in 2012. There was an increase of 2 percent in unit figures and 6.8 percent in rooms, while the average hotel had 43 rooms last year.
The increase in room supply has been quite spectacular over the last couple of years: In 2017, 7,000 rooms were added to the 2016 tally, and last year an extra 11,900 became available, the report showed.
In their effort to upgrade services and increase the average revenue per room, Greek hotel enterprises have invested 1.618 billion euros in renovating and upgrading their units over the last couple of years, or over 800 million euros per annum. This does not concern spending on new hotels or those that have reopened after years of being out of operation.
As for the seasonal character of tourism in Greece, this has remained unchanged over the last couple of years, with May being the exception, as a rise in overnight stays has been noted during that month. Almost 55 percent of annual overnight stays happen between June and August.