Suffering under the weight of five years of recession and crushing austerity measures that have hurt domestic sales, more Athens hotels are set to close this winter because of a big drop in demand and high operating costs, and because they haven’t been paid 16 million euros, $20.65 million, for hosting injured Libyans earlier this year.
In August the average occupancy rate at 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels posted a drop of 16.9 percent compared to the same month last year, while the average price per room fell 6.5 percent and revenues per available room contracted by 22.3 percent. In the first eight months of 2012, the average occupancy rate was down 30.1 percent from the same period in 2008.
In comparison with 2008 summer season, this year there was a 30 percent decline in occupancy, a 14.1% drop in the in average room rate and 39.9 percent fall in revenues per available room. In the area around Omonia Square, some 18 hotels have already closed, including luxury hotels.
“Both occupancy statistics as well as rate and revenue statistics are steady in negative rates four years now, something without precedent in Athens tourism history,” the association said. “Though there was also a decline in occupancy in other Greek cities, Athens has the record of the most negative rates,” the Attica Hotel Association said. Hoteliers are pleading for measures to be taken to help make Athens attractive again for travelers.