In anticipation of the holidays to cover a significant part of their operating expenses and with enough anxiety for the last minute (last minute) bookings are the hoteliers of the winter, mainly mountainous areas that were severely tested by the pandemic. Despite the fact that we are already going through the first days of December, the climate of uncertainty “holds” the average fullness nationwide in percentages that reach only 50 to 60%, with the exception of some destinations, such as the prefecture of Ioannina, mountainous Arcadia, mountainous Magnesia and Arachova, which are in greater demand according to bookings, as the president of the Panhellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX) Grigoris Tassios told the Athenian and Macedonian News Agency.
In the parameters that create optimism, as Mr. Tassios explains, is on the one hand the fact that Greece does not have a lockdown and on the other hand, that due to the restrictive measures taken by major European capitals, the people who choose not to travel abroad, will turn to domestic destinations and this will probably be seen after the first fortnight of December.
Epirus remains a popular destination, with Zagori, the area that includes 46 villages, recording until November fullness that exceeded 80% and with bookings showing the same and above percentages (80% -90%) for the festive season. The corresponding percentages in Metsovo and Tzoumerka range between 60% and 70% so far, according to the president of the Metsovo Hoteliers Association, Stergios Kassaros. “In this period we are going through, the ones that are more resilient are the family businesses and this is -if you want- an asset that Metsovo has”, says Mr. Kassaros. “Note that Metsovo has 15 hotels with 700 beds and 300 apartments, ie a total of about 1,000 beds,” he added.
Florina -one of the four destinations included in the first spots of the winter campaign that EOT is expected to run- together with Kastoria and Nymfaio are a constant choice of visitors all year round. For this year, when the situation is fluid, the professionals, while facing the situation with skepticism, see that if there is no outbreak of the pandemic, they will be able to talk about 100% fullness during the holidays, as pointed out by Iordanis Michailidis, president of the Association Hoteliers of the Republic of Macedonia. “However, we must point out that at the moment in the area that concerns us, about half of the hotels are operating and this happened due to the pandemic”, explains Mr. Michailidis, “so when we talk about 100% occupancy we can not compare it with it of 2019 since we are referring to a number of hotels reduced by almost half compared to then “, he clarifies.
The interest for Magnesia and especially for the city of Volos and Pelion is intense, as stated by the deputy mayor of Volos Georgia Bodou-Tokali, as the lighting of the city has created a very festive atmosphere. “However, at the moment the bookings are close to 50% and most of them are waiting for the holiday season to close due to a pandemic. People need to travel and this can be seen from the phone calls and questions they ask the hoteliers. It is still early “We can not compare with the pre-pandemic era, which especially from 2014 onwards, due to the festive events, the whole area, even the coastal ones, reached 100% in fullness”, notes the deputy mayor. “However, our hoteliers are ready, the park of Pinocchio is spectacular and if the health data does not change, people will come. But we are waiting only for Greeks, while in previous years we had many visitors from abroad. Besides, there are many Europeans who have vacations. houses in Pelion.
“It is not easy to get away from the sun-sea model, to highlight the mountainous part of Greece but we see in depth three years starting today”, says Sofia Flega, president of the Hotel Owners Association of Evritania, as the first spots of the EOT winter campaign except Zagori and Florina are returned to Karpenisi and Dimitsana.
“In Karpenisi there are 1500 hotel beds and as many in rentals. At the moment the reservations reach only 20% while in 2019 from the beginning of December the occupancy was around 60% and during the holidays we reached 100%”, he notes.
After the very optimistic messages of October 28 and the weekends that followed, in mountainous Arcadia there was a trend, which until two weeks ago showed that Christmas would be very high with bookings in excess of 85%. A wave of cancellations followed, which fortunately, according to the president of the Peloponnese Tourism Promotion Organization and professor at the University of West Attica in the Department of Tourism Administration, Costas Marinakos, seemed to be replaced with newer interest. “So even if something does not change, at Christmas we see so far exceeding 80% in full and of course we will have many last minute bookings,” he emphasizes.
The most popular destinations are the triptych Vytina-Dimitsana-Stemnitsa, as it points out from the side of mountainous Corinth, Trikala Corinth. “It is very important for the hotels to work during the holidays, because the income will cover a large part of their operating expenses. The advantage of our area is that we are close to the metropolitan center of Athens and one can come by car and by security “, adds Mr. Marinakos.
In the Peloponnese, out of the total of 1,000 hotel units it has, the percentage that concerns the mountainous volumes is of the order of 30-35%. “The pandemic,” notes Mr. Marinakos, “was a great school and made the trend even more intense for individual travelers, more nature-loving activities and more environmentally friendly travel. For this reason, the tourism business must also be prepared to show fast reflexes and invest in innovation and digital transformation “.
Source From: Capital