Hotel occupancy in Thessaloniki is at an all-time low.
The dull picture of “today’s everyday life” was not recorded either during the economic crisis or in past years of the pandemic period. The cancellation of many conferences, as well as the spread of new mutations (Delta and Omicron) were the main reasons that forced the cancellation of events and trips to Thessaloniki.
Only one in two of Thessaloniki’s 150 hotels manages to have double-digit bookings, and even then not every day, according to the Hoteliers Association.
“Hotels in Thessaloniki operate daily with a single-digit occupancy rate – 3, 4, 5 rooms. None of the hotels are currently operating at full capacity. The occupancy for a “normal January” was usually close to 50% (of the summer period). Compared to January 2019, the drop reaches 65-70%,” Andreas Mandrinos, president of the Thessaloniki Hoteliers Association, told ethnos.gr.
The decrease in bookings for February began in November
The picture of orders for February is also depressing. “The big problem is that this difficult situation goes on for a long time, because when it happens for 15-20 days, you can endure it. The minimum traffic, however, will be in February, while the costs are coming! We have never lived in such conditions before, with such a small number, even when the coronavirus came,” experts say. A protracted crisis in the city’s hotel business began in mid-November, and the ban on music and the closure of catering establishments at midnight during the New Year holidays dealt the final blow.
Traditionally, Thessaloniki is a city of conferences and exhibitions, giving impetus to urban tourism and recreation. Since the beginning of the pandemic – March 2020 – all conferences have been rescheduled to the next year (2021) and then to 2022.
Hopes are pinned on March
“The goal of every hotelier,” Mr. Mandrinos explained, “is to hold out until the ‘restart’ that appears to take place at the end of March to cover our costs first.”
Until then, hotels in the city are either giving leave to staff to cope, or using shutdown measures and the Collaboration program (with a large staff).
Some hoteliers who have 2-3 hotels have closed two and only one is in operation, others are engaged in repairs, as the premises are empty.
And in some hotels, the floors are completely closed to achieve savings and adapt to market needs. As for the licenses of new hotels that have appeared in the city, according to the Thessaloniki Hoteliers Association, they are minimal. These are 3-4 new hotels for several places (50-60), which “save” the situation and are necessary for the city when tourists are actively visiting.
However, a large hotel with 500 beds has not been built in Thessaloniki over the past ten years.