Immediate actions are needed for Greek hotels to cope with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, as the country’s tourism at the moment is at its lowest level, according to Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) President Alexandros Vassilikos.
“Tourism is currently at zero and hotels are sending out an SOS call,” Vassilikos stressed during a web press conference on Monday.
Presenting the results of the latest report by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) on the effects of Covid-19 on the Greek hotel sector, Vassilikos commented that “it will be a long time until the tourism industry regains its 2019 levels”.
Drop in 2020 turnover
According to the report, 95 percent of Greece’s year round hotels see a reduction in 2020 turnover by 56.3 percent. Respectively, 94.2 percent of the country’s seasonal hotels expect this year’s turnover to drop by 56.1 percent.
Referring to Greece’s total of hotels, the report showed that the loss in turnover for 2020 is estimated at 1.2 billion euros for year round hotels and at 3.26 billion euros for seasonal units.
The total estimated loss in turnover for Greece’s hotels has been estimated at 4.46 billion euros.
Jobs predicted to be lost
The report also found that 57.3 percent of year round hotels estimate a 40 percent decrease in employment, while 65.4 percent of seasonal hotels said they see a drop of 41.5 percent.
ITEP has estimated that a total of 45,142 jobs in the Greek hotel sector are directly at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Need for funding
In addition, 71.1 percent of year round hotels underlined the need for funding, amounting to 31.1 percent of their turnover. Respectively, 66.6 percent of seasonal hotels said the funding they need adds up to 31.4 percent of their turnover.
ITEP said that the financing needs of Greek hotels hurt by Covid-19 reach the amount of 498 million euros for year round units and 1.29 billion euros for seasonal units.
The total necessary financing of Greek hotels adds up to 1.79 billion euros.
Vassilikos: This report rings an alarm bell
Commenting on the results, Vassilikos referred to them as an “alarm bell” warning of danger in the face of an unprecedented and uncharted reality.
“Within this environment, it is extremely important to realize that there must be solutions and provisions for Greek hotels in order for them to stay afloat when we enter the restart phase, as soon as conditions allow,” he stressed.
The chamber’s president said that total recovery will be needed in order for Greek hotels to be able to continue their great contribution to the development, employment and cohesion of society.
“In the medium term, this will be achieved with the ten-year plan for tourism, in which the chamber will participate with documented positions. Until then, however, hotels must be supported today, to be able to stand tomorrow… Greek hotels and their employees are in dire need of immediate support. They are in dire need of immediate and bold action,” Vassilikos stressed.
Referring to solutions, Vassilikos said the chamber has already forwarded proposed measures to the Tourism Ministry. He explained that the specific measures are needed for hotels to stay afloat and include proposals for specific hygiene operating conditions for hotels when they reopen, tax breaks, employment support and regulations involving loans.
The chamber’s president repeated that immediate action is needed to make it possible for Greece’s hotels to “restart” in the aftermath of Covid-19.
“This is the message we want to send out with today’s press conference,” he concluded.
The results of ITEP’s third report on the impact of Covid-19 on Greek hotels are based on a survey taken between April 1-10 to a sample of 1,779 Greek hotels out of a total of 9,954 members of the chamber (18 percent of the total number of hotels in Greece).