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Athenian Hotels Record Major Drop in Overnights

Overnights in the Athens area dropped an average drop of 11.5% last year when compared with 2002, according to statistics released last month by the Attica Hoteliers’ Association. The association says the drop is phenomenal considering it took place the year prior to Athens holding the Olympic Games.

Occupancy rates at luxury hotel units in the Athens area dropped from an average 51.23% recorded in 2002 to 40.76% last year. It is assumed that the re-opening of major luxury units, such as the Grande Bretagne and Hilton Athens, was responsible for the drop.

Attica area hotels in the A category registered an average 2003 occupancy rate of 54.85%, which was down from an average of 60.52% the year before. Occupancy at second and third category units showed an increase in overnights last year against 2002.

December turned out to be one of the worse months for the Athenian units. Luxury units dropped from a 41% occupancy rate in December of 2002 to 31.44% in December of last year. First class units dropped their overnights by almost five percentage points for the period in question. Separately, the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers last month complained of favoritism to particular interests in the tourism industry that undermines healthy competition. The federation said that the policy had begun with the granting of “scandalous” town-planning incentives to government-controlled Hellenic Tourist Properties (ETA) and was later extended to arrangements for specific large private firms.

The federation says it seeks a comprehensive solution of town-planning problems for all of the country’s hotels and one that would reduce operating costs. Responding, ETA dismissed the claim of favoritism and pointed out that neither the Chamber of Greek Hotels nor the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises had signed he complaint.

Meanwhile, Greek hotels and room rental units have until April 30 to send their preferred star classification to the Hellenic Tourism Organization of responsible regional authority offices. On January 1,2006, these accommodation units must forward quality certification for the category selected.

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