ECONOMY

Hotels report a stifling year

hotels-report-a-stifling-year

Greek hotels have to deal with considerable losses of 1 billion euros from deposits not paid in 2020 for 2021 due to the pandemic and from debts that have not been collected, on top of the slump in revenues last year: Hotel turnover dropped 78% in 2020 to €1.83 billion, against €8.357 billion in 2019, according to a new survey.

A report by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) for the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels showed that just one in five hotels that normally operate for 12 months per year managed to stay open, compared to those that remained open throughout 2019.

Out of the 3,965 year-round hotels in Greece, just 59% of them reopened after the spring lockdown (2,328 units) and almost two-thirds of those (63%) were forced to shut down before the end of 2020. Eventually, only 863 year-round hotels remained open in December, representing just 22% of the total.

As far as seasonal hotels are concerned, the average period of operation shrank to just 3.2 months in 2020, while that of year-round units contracted to seven months, due to the extraordinary conditions.

The mean occupancy rate in the summer quarter (July-September) for all hotels (including those that remained closed) was down to 23.1%. Total revenues from rooms in the summer quarter last year even lagged those of September 2019.

ITEP estimates that the funding tools for the government support of the sector have covered a third of hotel enterprises’ total liquidity needs. Crucially, those programs have fully supported employment at the hotels that did operate in 2020.

As far as prices were concerned, the average rate dropped 16% in August and 11% in September on an annual basis.

Chamber President Alexandros Vassilikos noted that the results of the survey “confirm the unprecedented extent of the crisis hotels faced in 2020, while 2021 has started with many unknown factors and questions.”

He stressed liquidity support “constitutes the oxygen the sector requires to remain robust, not only for the benefit of the enterprises, but also of the national economy.”