Cancellations at hotels soar due to the increase in infections by Ómicron




The advancement of the Omicron variant is wreaking havoc on hotels. Although the Christmas period does not stand out for being the one that registers the most hotel overnight stays, the truth is that the sector hoped to experience the holidays at levels close to Christmas 2019. The good data since the end of summer, a high season that
it was also extended during the month of October
Thanks to the weather and a month of November where the hotel nights of foreigners rebounded strongly thanks to the high season in the Canary Islands, heralding a Christmas on the rise.

However, the sixth wave of infections has ended causing a avalanche of cancellations and a lot of uncertainty for the future. From

In fact, last minute bookings predominate, while some companies are already looking more towards next summer and weather these months as best they can.

The most touristic communities are the ones that are suffering the most. Especially the Canary Islands. After the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, in 2019, and the Covid, in 2020, the Canarian hoteliers had hopes of a good tourist high season in 2021. This has been the case until November. In December, the employers of the Tenerife sector spoke of the fact that the occupation has ended up falling ten points because of Ómicron, up to 62%. For his part, Tom Smulders, vice president of the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs of the province of Las Palmas, tells ABC that a large part of the cancellations have been by "British tourists."

In other parts of the country the situation has not been better either. For example, in the Valencian Community, the Hosbec employers' association says that Ómicron "has ruined the good forecasts that the sector managed for Christmas and has charged between 20 and 30 hotel occupancy points." Thus, the employer made official yesterday that December has ended with an occupancy between 37 and 45%, "Very far from the 80% forecasts that were handled before Ómicron". In addition, he speaks of a beginning of the year where "we have weeks of significant difficulties ahead of us."

ERTE until Easter

For the large Spanish hotel chains, the sixth wave has also broken all their forecasts. A few weeks ago, in a meeting with the press, the CEO of Barceló, Raúl González, stated that reservations in November grew by 10% compared to 2019. Three weeks later, after detecting the Ómicron variant, bookings fell 15%. This volatility blurs the recovery into a quicksand path.

Asked by this newspaper for an update of the data, Barceló continues to confirm the damage that the increase in infections is having. "The Ómicron variant has had a negative impact on Christmas bookings, with cancellations mainly in destinations such as the Canary Islands, Andalusia and Catalonia, with a reduction in demand from both the national and international markets (especially the British)," explain sources from the hotel. That is why the Balearic company asks the Government to extend the same conditions of the ERTE until Easter, at least. "The domestic market demand will not be enough to compensate for the fall in foreign tourists in the first half of the year," they justify.

No specific data has been passed from Meliá, but they admit that they have also experienced a decline in reservations. For their part, NH indicates to this newspaper that "we have also noticed a drop compared to the expectations we were handling." In addition, for this week of Kings they point out that «cities like Seville, Valencia, Bilbao and Madrid»Will continue to suffer cancellations.

In the case of Riu, they tell ABC that "with the appearance of the Ómicron variant we have noticed a stop in the number of new reservations and it is true that the vast majority of which we are receiving are last minute reservations." For January the cancellations have continued and they expect today to have an occupancy of 60%.

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