Hotels: ‘Last-second’ Bookings to Make or Break Greek Tourist Season
Greek hoteliers are betting on late July and August tourist flows to stimulate the market hoping that vaccinations proceed and the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, said Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX) President Grigoris Tasios on Tuesday.
In an interview to thebest.gr, Tasios said a good case scenario would see steady traffic primarily from traditional source markets in the coming weeks. The priority, he said, is to ensure the safety of travelers, professionals and locals with no more setbacks in Greece or source markets with regard to pandemic developments.
At the same time, the federation’s president called for additional support of the sector for a possible restart in 2022. POX member hotels, he said, have a “huge black hole in cash flow” suffering losses of up to 78 percent last year with near- to-zero bookings and no advance payments.
Proposals in this direction tabled by the association include a reduction in VAT on accommodation through to the end of 2021, extending loan and debt payment period, exempting hotel enterprises from property tax, and extending the furlough measure through to October for seasonal enterprises and to the end of the year of all-year businesses. He did acknowledge the government’s current measure subsidizing running costs.
‘Last-second’ booking trend
Tasios said the trend of “last second” booking – a result of Covid-19 uncertainty among travelers – has created a gap in revenue, which is also impacting Greek hoteliers’ competitiveness.
“The bet is to be competitive, ensure ‘value for money’ for the services we provide, and to utilize as much as possible the recognized demand for Greece, converting it into hotel occupancy,” Tasios said.
The federation’s president referred to the readiness of Greek hotel enterprises to meet the increased health demands and implement stringent Covid-19 protocols and based on last year’s experience identify and isolate high risk cases, adding that attention should focus more on entrance to the country through land borders.
Tasios refrained from making forecasts saying that it was too early “due to the ‘last-second character’ of the season” and adding that it was vital that Greece improved its epidemiological data.
Lastly, he referred to the importance of the funds Greece secured from the EU’s resilience instrument, which he said will, if channelled efficiently, upgrade the country’s tourism infrastructure and offerings through investments.