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Society

COVID-19 Squeezes Life Out of Athens’ Hotels, Occupancy Rates Plummet

August 29, 2020

ATHENS – Tourists are shying away and many Greeks staying close to home this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis causing occupancy rates and revenues at hotels in the Greek capital to head to the bottom floor.

The number of rooms rented in July, when Greece opened its doors to visitors except hard-hit countries such as the key market of the United States, fell 60 percent compared to the record year of 2019, said Kathimerini.

Nearly two-thirds of rooms in hotels were empty even though prices were cut 42.7 percent but people not buying it, fearful of traveling with so many health restrictions and worries about whether the accommodations were clean.

For the first seven months of the year – including January and February before the Coronavirus took hold and lockdown that lasted 10 weeks began March 23 – the occupancy rate fell 49.2 percent, with only 39.2 percent of rooms rented.

The data, provided by the Athens, Attica and Saronic Gulf Hoteliers’ Association and GBR Consulting, showed how hard and deep the crisis was for hoteliers in Athens, which compared to 2019 seemed almost deserted in spots.

Hotel owners though said while Greece was riding the crest of a consecutive run of record years that trouble was in the cards before COVID-19 kept people locked up and many businesses not making it through the lockdown.

They said a decline had set in, “For reasons unrelated to the global health emergency, but rather due to faulty policies adopted to promote tourism development and which led to an excess in supply at all levels of hotel accommodation in Athens and elsewhere.”

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