“Having 10 percent of guests does not even cover running costs” – Czech hotels face year of low demand

Photo: Taken, Pixabay / CC0

Hotels in the Czech Republic are allowed to reopen this Monday as part of the final wave of easing of coronavirus lockdown measures on businesses. However, with travel restrictions still in place, the situation in the Czech tourism sector is by no means back to normal. I spoke to the President of the Confederation of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic Tomáš Prouza and asked him if the hoped for increase in domestic tourism will help relieve some of the pressure.

Photo: Taken,  Pixabay / CC0

Tomáš Prouza,  photo: Jana Přinosilová,  Czech Radio
“Of course, Czechs spending more time in the country will help a bit.

“However, what we see from the numbers today is that they are not planning to spend a two week holiday in the Czech Republic. Rather, they are asking for and sometimes booking only a one week holiday or even just a long weekend.

“So there will be some assistance from the Czechs to the hotels, but our estimates say that it will cover only about 30 to 35 percent of what foreigners would spend in the Czech Republic.”

Those numbers sound rather alarming. Is it true that some hotels are considering not opening at all this summer in order to avoid losses?

Photo: ČTK / Slavomír Kubeš
“Very much so.

“We already see it in Prague where foreigners covered more than 90 percent of nights spent in Prague hotels. However, we also see in spa cities like Karlovy Vary or Marienbad.

“But again, some high end hotels currently have around 10 to 15 percent of their capacity booked.

“In many cases, only having 10 percent of guests does not even cover the running costs of the hotel, so many of them are saying that they will only open next spring.”

When do you think things could really get back to normal for Czech hoteliers given the trajectory that we are headed in now?

Illustrative photo: Rabih Hourani Massri,  Flickr,  CC BY-NC-ND 2.00
“I think when you look at hotels or pensions in the mountains; they will get back to normal during the summer.

“But for hotels in large towns, large cities, I think the back to normal could come maybe in April 2021 if there is no second or third wave. If there is, we could see the closure of a lot of hotels for good.”

If many hotels were to close, would there be any noticeable change for foreign tourists?

“If there is the same number of tourists as there was in the past then it would of course be noticeable. Even next year we expect fewer tourists in Prague and other cities than in the past, so it will not be too visible.

“However, it will of course have an impact on employment and the range of services. So in general I would say you would notice a drop in quality of tourism services.”

Photo: Paul Sableman,  Flickr,  CC BY 2.0
How many hotels do we expect are at risk of not surviving this year due to the effects of coronavirus?

“As for the high end hotels we see around 10 to 15 percent of them to be at risk.

“The decision will be made during September or October this year, because if there is no second wave of the pandemic it will be much easier for these hotels to get back to normal.

“If there is a second wave and there are border closures again during the autumn, then these high end hotels will be badly hit and may not survive at all.”