Hoteliers should move optimistically and seek “to get big increases from tour operators for 2023” stresses the president of Greek hoteliers association SETE Mr. Giannis Retsos, in order for Greek hotels to survive and face the increased energy costs and inflation.
The honorary president of SETE, Mr. Andreas Andreadis, also defended this position, noting on twitter that “I agree with @ YARetsos. The demand for Greece 2022/23 will be very high. Colleagues will make a big mistake if they are afraid to increase prices by 8% -10% for 23 for tour operators in order to give pay raises to employees & to cover inflation “.
Inflation and price hikes are for Mr. Retsos the elements that will largely determine the course of tourism this year. The war in Ukraine may have frozen the bookings for a while, but it did not result in cancellations. Also, if the conflict stops in April, then there will be an explosion in demand, he said yesterday in a press conference where he presented his estimates for the course of Greek tourism.
In fact, he added that the goal of the industry to approach the tourism revenues of 18.2 billion euros in 2019 has not been lost for this year.
As concerns markets, he characterized the British and the Scandinavian as more dynamic, while we expect a lot from the American market, which, however, is greatly influenced by the wars. For the German market he said as for the Polish it is more restrained.
Inflation and rising prices will have a greater impact than the war, he added, adding that rising energy prices and the primary sector are forming a strange mix, the real effects of which we will see in 2023. As Mr. Retsos explained, European tourists have saved more money in the last two years due to pandemic and restrictive measures and is willing to spend it to travel. Over time, however, the wave of precision is expected to become more noticeable.
Mr. Retsos also estimated that the rise in prices of materials leads to a slowdown and redesign of many hotel projects and investments.
As for the hotel companies, he noted that they are affected by the energy costs and the price hikes of the raw materials of the primary sector and this year they are not able to adjust their prices to this new reality.
“We have to separate the total tourism income with the numbers of companies that also have different strengths and results depending on the regions of the country where they operate,” he said, adding that business results are affected by high inflation, rising interest rates. wage increases, the very high energy costs that for some industries were the most important. These problems will be faced by companies in the near future, he stressed, estimating that their results will be negatively affected.
However, a number of business support measures are underway, such as the subsidy of energy costs, the extension of the Cooperation for April and May, while discussions are taking place on VAT on accommodation and transport.
For 2023, he called on hoteliers to negotiate with tour operators “big increases” and estimated that “Greek tourism has the knowledge, maturity and composure to deal effectively with this great crisis that has arisen.”
Barbs concerning short-term leases
The President of SETE also referred to the problem of unfair competition, as he said, which hotels face from short-term rental accommodation. The status remains “gray”, he noted and set a red line for SETE, on the occasion of the last investment of a unit that turned an entire building into apartments with hotel services, which, however, was included in the short-term lease regime. “Investments are announced as hotels but operate on a short-term lease regime, which means that they do not pay VAT, residence tax, they do not apply to employees collective employment contracts. We can not tolerate the distortion of competition,” said Mr. Retsos and revealed that the government is beginning to realize that tax evasion is recorded in such investments.
Campaign to attract staff
Finally, Mr. Retsos referred to the problem of lack of staff in the whole range of tourist activities. The deficit is estimated at 22-23% for this year and announced that there will be a campaign to attract staff in the tourism sector.
He opined that in many cases due to lack of staff we will have salary increases to attract employees.
He made special mention of the contribution of Greek tourism to GDP, through the creation of more than 50,000 jobs in 2022, and the strengthening of the extroversion of the Greek economy. As the President of SETE stated, “tourism is a catalyst for the reduction of unemployment in the country”.