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Athens hospitality market on road to recovery

Athens hospitality market on road to recovery

Hotels in Athens reported significant performance improvement in 2013, according to data from STR Global and GBR Consulting.

The market saw strong growth after the 2004 Olympic Games with significant increases in occupancy and average daily rate.

This trend was reversed at the end of 2008 as a result of a prolonged period of social unrest.

“The period of social unrest caused a significant impact on the hotel industry in Athens as demand declined for the city”, said Elizabeth Winkle, managing director of STR Global.

“However, the industry’s performance has been on an upward trend for nearly a year now, and we expect to see this trend continue.

“Positive news has emerged surrounding the economic situation and outlook in Greece. If this can be maintained, leisure tourism is expected to recover further because of the attractiveness of Athens as a destination.”

In 2013, the downturn bottomed out, primarily due to a recovery in leisure tourism.

From April onwards, occupancy levels significantly improved compared to 2012, while room rates stabilised. Occupancy rose 7.0 percent in 2013 to 56.8 per cent.

According to Stefan Merkenhof, managing consultant of GBR Consulting, “The impact of the Greek crisis on the Athens tourism industry in the period 2010 through 2013 has been significant with a total estimated loss of EUR2.5 billion for the sector as a whole, of which EUR820 million was for the Athens hotels.

“However, Athens tourism has been recovering since May 2013 as the negative headlines on Greece disappeared and a positive outlook started emerging.

“In the first two months of 2014, we have seen significant increases in international tourist arrivals at Athens as well as significant improvements in occupancy levels, albeit with stabilising room rates.

“With the leisure market solidifying and the return of the conference and incentive market to Athens, of which there are already clear signs, the city seems to be set for a substantial recovery, in line with its rich offering for leisure and MICE travellers alike”.

As a result of the occupancy increases, revenue per available room also improved significantly. RevPAR for the market increased 7.9 percent to EUR53.89. The biggest increase in RevPAR was achieved by the Economy segment with a 13.2-percent increase, followed by the Upper Upscale segment with a 4.7-percent increase.

In a further sign of success, Athens will welcome the World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony 2014 in August this year.