Hotels see decline in earnings

Athens hoteliers said yesterday revenues in the first five months of the year fell 20.8 percent as the city’s tourism sector reels from the global crisis and the ongoing fallout from December’s riots. «Total revenues per room were down 20.8 percent in the first five months of 2009,» the Athens Hoteliers Association said in a statement. It said average room rates had dropped by 5.1 percent in the same period, while hotel room occupancy fell by 16.6 percent. The group urged the government and tourism enterprises to take measures and protect the sector, which accounts for about 18 percent of annual gross domestic product and employs one in five Greeks. Talks that have started on safety issues relating to the city center, such as illegal immigrants, will need to produce immediate and tangible results before negative publicity is replaced by the kind of positive promotion abroad we should be seeing, the Athens Hoteliers Association added in the statement.