When will the big hotel groups open their hotels?

Clear and safe pan-European protocols for travel and hotels are waiting for the five largest, based on bed capacity, Greek hoteliers with a nationwide portfolio of units, before opening any of their hotels.

At the same time, they applaud the government’s handling as fast and accurate, consider it a legacy for the resumption of tourism in Greece, the excellent management image of the pandemic that it broadcasts internationally and ask for the support of its employees, whom they recognize as an integral part of the industry.

But they do not chew their words: they expect a very large drop in turnover. But they do not lose their optimism about the prospects of the industry and their determination to get it back on its feet as soon as possible, and even on an even more solid footing.

This is how the president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), who emphasizes that “key” in the short and medium term are plans that ensure and maintain jobs, give the necessary business liquidity, enhance their competitiveness and create a safety net for the weakest and especially the unemployed.

It is also clear that not all hotels will open soon, and that expectations for what is already open will be moved to July, while the first market expected to recover is domestic.

Nevertheless, infrastructure and renovation projects, programs for the overall upgrade and modernization of the tourist product as well as the improvement of its communication and distribution channels continue.

However, improving competitiveness, everyone agrees, requires further cuts on the part of the state on the front of reducing tax rates, especially VAT.

Giannis Retsos, President of SETE, CEO of Electra Hotels & Resorts

We shield Greek tourism

In the hotels “Electra”, we are preparing for the new challenge, first in our hotels in Athens and Thessaloniki and in the second phase the resorts in Rhodes and Kefalonia.

Greek tourism, its entrepreneurs, we have proved in all the difficult years of the crisis, that we have the adaptability, but also the insight to always see the optimistic side of history. With the same characteristics, with the addition of discipline and realism, we can hope that we will succeed again. Greek tourism was the first to be hit by the pandemic, but it may be the first to hit the development avenue again.

The quick reflexes of the government and the institutional partners to deal with the first wave of consequences of the pandemic, but also the plans that are being formed for the resumption of the economy, are a positive sign. Plans that should be comprehensive and not fragmentary, central and not local, European and secondarily national. Plans that will ensure and maintain jobs will provide the necessary liquidity oxygen to businesses, strengthen their competitiveness and create a safety net for the weakest and especially the unemployed.

Only in this way will we be able to create a new environment for transportation and hospitality, in the near future, when health safety is the main issue. This clearly means health protocols that will clearly define how, where and under what conditions the visitor will move and be accommodated.

Significant weight is also assigned to hotels. The new rules for everyone, for as long as they last, I hope only for this year, no matter how complex they are, are the only method of shielding hotels and tourism. It is the safe one way back on the way up. The pandemic is affecting the global economy with unprecedented intensity. Nothing will remain unaffected, at least for the next few months of 2020. No one at the moment can pinpoint the exact size or duration of this new, major economic crisis that will follow health. Tourism and transport will continue to suffer in the near future.

Andreas Andreadis, CEO Sani / Ikos Group

Domestic tourism since July

It seems that we are many weeks away from the drastic reduction of cases. Without it, it is impossible to lift total restrictions, and international travel will only be allowed with the creation and standardization of health protocols and agreements. It becomes clear that this requires significant additional time. Therefore, for 2020 the only thing we can logically expect is a limited wave of domestic tourism after July, with greater chances of small units operating. So today the most likely scenario for the vast majority of seasonal hotels is almost total loss of turnover (75% to 100%). Permanent operations, as they had a turnover in the first two months and possibly the last quarter of this year, are likely to have losses closer to 50%, but at higher costs. At the same time, 2021 will undoubtedly be significantly affected, perhaps with losses of up to 50% compared to 2019. So, calm and sobriety are required. Greek tourist assets remain extremely valuable and with very good medium-term prospects. The necessary measures, such as SETE, XEE and POX, must be taken by June.

The demand is for liquidity injections and the adoption of the French or German model, ie flexible turnover of at least 20%, in companies with a large turnover. This will be supplemented by a subsidy for workers with a “work coupon” equal to the unemployment benefit they would be entitled to. This will avoid mass layoffs, maintain the relationship with the company and supplement their income above the unemployment benefit. It is also necessary to reduce tax rates, especially VAT, for a period of three years, so that the country can aggressively claim higher market shares in 2021 and 2022. At the same time, companies need to reconsider the product and its availability. The needs of the next day require the creation of branded, higher quality – technologically, ecologically and health-advanced tourism products, with direct access to the final consumer. Extensive developments, acquisitions and mergers are coming together. I remain optimistic about the future of tourism, the tourism entrepreneur and the employee. The excellent image of the country in the management of the pandemic gives us one of the best pole positions in the restart race.

Marie Daskalantonaki, CEO Grecotel

Special programs for each area

We follow the government’s directives in all areas, closely monitor ten major foreign markets and plan specific programs for the different regions of the country where Grecotel is present.

When given the green light by the health front – always in consultation with the authorities of each region – we will propose a special program for our tourism and in full cooperation with major organizations abroad. What I can say today is that the first area to recover is that of road tourism.

Despite the enormous difficulties that often seem insurmountable, as Grecotel we are optimistic that the most vibrant and promising sector of the Greek economy – that is, that of hospitality – with science, system and specific plan, I repeat, specialized for each region, will work. We feel the support of the government and we draw strength. I would ask that all hotel companies provide the same support framework for practical liquidity and employment flexibility so that businesses can withstand the two waves of COVID-19 and not turn employees into income earners.

Greece is strong in terms of tourism. It has a strengthened brand through government performance in pandemics, hotel and tourism investments of billions, entrepreneurs and employees gifted with the DNA of hospitality. Our tourism is not a model that governments have proposed and now needs to change. It is a basic consumer product of rest and leisure, like basic living products.

His demand does not fall, it is just interrupted, as our lives were interrupted. Support him properly and he will reward us quickly. Grecotel, from the first moment of the pandemic, took all the appropriate measures by the state and WHERE. With social responsibility, he stopped working during the season and suspended the operation of the hotel hotels, keeping only security personnel until the end of the restrictions.

The only exception, for reasons of national security, is Astir-Egnatia in Alexandroupolis, where Frontex forces are hosted.

Stavros Mitsis, Managing Director, Mitsis Group

Detailed design, action manuals

A progressive element in the DNA of the Mitsis Hotels group is progress. Thus, while the unexpected crisis of the corona created multidimensional effects on our mode of operation, we further evolve it so as not to deviate from our course. We have developed a detailed action plan and policy and specification manuals for compliance with hygiene and safety rules, to provide security and safety to customers and employees.

We take care of the financing of our operation for the next 12 months. And we reduced costs while maintaining business readiness.

We are completing the ongoing infrastructure projects – investments in renovations, modernization and improvement of all units. We continue all the organizational development projects that will bring us forward the next day, ensuring effective targeting, advanced services and unique travel experiences for our customers when they come to us with good luck.

We have joined forces with the government and local authorities to overcome the effects of COVID-19 and ensure that we return to normalcy as soon as possible, with our knowledge of health and safety. We communicate with our colleagues in the organization, our partners and customers through our business and social networks.

As a sign of solidarity, we organized a large blood donation in memory of our founder Konstantinos Mitsis, on May 21, to be used for the needs of patients with COVID-19.

When the time is right for the holidays, we offer 10,000 nights to the nursing staff who are fighting now.

We feel proud of the heroes who emerge from the battle and discover our best selves through moments of human transcendence and acts of goodness around the world.

This crisis will overturn a lot of data, but certainly brighter days await us, with a unique quality in relationships, life and travel.

We are investing in new infrastructure, advanced technology and improved services, constantly adding value to our product.

Anna K. Mantonanaki, co-CEO of Mantonanaki group

We open as soon as the restrictions are lifted

We are carefully examining all the data caused by the unprecedented health crisis, which is decisively affecting the tourism industry as well.

Our will is to open our hotels as soon as the restrictions imposed by the state are lifted, at least those addressed to our Greek customers. This is because, unfortunately, the reception of foreign visitors is becoming more complicated this year, as it depends on the availability of flights to Greece, the precautionary measures to be observed and the situation that will prevail in the countries of origin.

For our part, however, we are preparing from now on for the post-corona era: We are strictly adhering to the protocols of hygiene and disinfection of our facilities. We are rearranging our spaces, in order to increase the ratio of square meters and staff per visitor. And we adapt our high standard of hosting to the new data.

We rely on all of this for the high quality of our people and the great experience we have accumulated over the years.

In our effort, we have a valuable help from the state, which from the first moment has supported us seriously and consistently to strengthen not only the tourism companies, which are the heavy industry of the country, but also the workers, who are the soul of our businesses.

The state’s timely and targeted initiatives have managed to reduce the spread of the pandemic in the country – and this is now internationally recognized.

This national success is now a valuable asset for Greece and its businesses, which can be used to attract customers, offering new momentum when the country’s borders are reopened.

All this makes us optimistic that we will eventually successfully cope with the unprecedented difficulties for our industry. And that we will soon return to normalcy to prove that, with the help of the state, Greek entrepreneurship can gain lost ground and contribute to putting our country back on track.

Alexandros Angelopoulos, CEO Aldemar Resorts

A very difficult tourist season

The first data show that we will have an extremely limited tourist season, provided that the movement of people is done with the highest safety and after first finding mechanisms to protect against the spread of the disease.

Any tourist season will not bring any economic results, it may simply allow hoteliers to support the workers and keep the flame of hospitality burning. One can hardly predict the time of the restart, since the countries of origin of our visitors are far behind in crisis management. I am sure that the maximum will be done to take advantage of the excellent management that the Greek government has done, but companies must also be able to restart and have the support of the state and banks in damaging the damage they endure.

Some units will choose to operate a smaller number of beds, adapting to demand.

Hotels will be required to consider, in addition to health and disinfection measures, alternative modes of operation. I remind you that over 66% of a hotel business’s revenue ends up in one way or another in the state (FDI 2018).

It is wrong not to look at the chronic burdens of the industry, which prevent businesses from showing their social face but also their real dynamics in a changing society. Only with partnerships and assumptions that include man, society and the environment will we be able to move forward. The government seems to realize that there must be a new contract with businesses, employees and society. Now is the time to sign this. Now is the time to create the modern Greek economy, next to a modern Greek society, with realism but also recognition of the role that everyone must play.

We have reached a 2020 when the ten-year crisis and the chronic Greek pathogenesis have found us unprepared. We, the hoteliers, and many who depend on the economy of hospitality will be obliged to process alternative scenarios and mechanisms. For now, all we can do is restart the mechanism that is most likely to get us out of the crisis.

source – kathimerini.gr

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