Hungarian hotels mull closing as coronavirus crashes tourism

Occupancy rates trending towards zero in Hungary as tourism craters

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Gabriella Viland

With occupancy rates running between 25 and 30 percent, Hungarian hotels both in Budapest and in the countryside are considering temporarily closing down all or most facilities, Tamás Flesch, head of the Hungarian Hoteliers and Restaurateurs Association (HAH) told daily Magyar Hírlap.

“Many hotels are considering closing down, not only in Budapest, but the countryside as well,” Flesch said. “Everyone is now seeking a solution on what to do with their employees, how to avoid uncertainties and how to continue paying their wages.”

He said the association is in talks with the government on how best to alleviate the severe crisis in tourism, with all sides—the government, the employers and employees—showing a very cooperative attitude in the face of the most devastating hit the industry has ever experienced.

“Everything changes day by day at a breakneck pace. This is nothing like 2008 [the onset of the global financial and economic crisis]. The fall is dramatic. We have no revenues to speak of while our costs remain largely unchanged,” he said. “The government is not in an easy position, and we fully understand that safety comes first, but our priority is to ensure the future of our employees.”

Zoltán Guller, head of the state-ran Hungarian Tourism Agency (MTÜ), said occupancy rates are already down to between 25 and 30 percent and could hit zero by April 1.

He said that even in a best-case scenario, it will take about ten months from now for occupancy rates to reach their pre-coronavirus levels.

Last year tourism accounted for 10.7 percent of Hungary’s GDP, with an additional two to three percent in indirect revenues also generated by tourism.

Title image: A Hungarian policeman wears a disposable mask in the foreground of empty car lanes at the border crossing into Ukraine in Zahony, northeastern Hungary, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (Attila Balazs/MTI via AP)



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