Corona crisis - tourism winter season according to Wifo a total failure

The first four months of the current winter tourism season - November to February - were practically a total failure, say the Wifo economists in their current analysis. For the full year 2021, they expect sales to halve compared to the pre-Corona year 2019. The accommodation providers in Vienna and in the western federal states of Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg suffered the most from the lockdown, with losses of more than 95 percent.

While the lockdown imposed at the beginning of November 2020 was lifted for retail in the second week of February 2021, hotels and restaurants were largely closed. Only business travelers and spa guests were allowed to use accommodation. Accordingly, guest arrivals fell by 95,1 percent year-on-year, overnight stays and income fell by 93,5 percent, estimates the economic research institute in its tourism analysis.

In absolute terms, only around 2020 million arrivals and around 2021 million overnight stays were counted in Austrian accommodation establishments from November 0,7 to February 3,5, the turnover in total travel (including day trips and expenses for visits to relatives and friends) was the first According to Wifo estimates, a nominal 0,76 billion euros.

A good 97 percent fewer overnight stays in western Austria

The federal capital and western Austria were hardest hit: in Vienna overnight stays and sales fell by 94,4 percent, in Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg by an average of 97,4 percent. In Lower Austria, around 37 percent of the level of 2019/20 was achieved, namely through the continued operation in health resorts, the accommodation of workers (especially in the construction industry) and through sporting events, explain the Wifo economists.

Even in Upper Austria and Burgenland, despite lockdowns, at least around a quarter or a good fifth of the already sharply reduced level of overnight stays and sales of the previous year was achieved. In a normal winter, February is the most important winter month with around a quarter of the number of seasonal nights. With only around 184.900 arrivals and 912.800 overnight stays, the result in February 2021 was 96,0 percent and 95,5 percent below the comparative value for 2020.

The factories will reopen at the earliest in mid-May

The Wifo does not anticipate the reopening of the accommodation establishments until mid-May at the earliest - "Overnight guests on vacation should therefore be the exception in winter 2020/21, rather the overall very low demand is limited to business travelers and spa guests," according to the analysis.

Assuming that the ban on tourist entry for accommodation providers will be lifted in the second half of May and the travel warning for the most important foreign markets will be lifted in mid-June, Wifo expects a drop in overnight stays of around a fifth for the calendar year 2021 compared to the already weak Corona year 2020. Compared to the previous high in 2019, this means a decrease of 49 percent.

Vienna has to reckon with the greatest losses in the year as a whole, here the overnight stays could decrease by 58 percent, estimate the Wifo experts. Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg are unlikely to even reach half the annual volume in 2019 (minus 55 percent), while the gap in the other regions could be around a third each.

All of this is based on the assumption "that by the beginning of the main summer season we will have succeeded in curbing the infection rate with vaccinations and that there will be no further significant flare-up of the pandemic in autumn 2021".

Bankruptcy wave in the industry expected for the next few years

The dramatic decline in overnight stays is likely to lead to a wave of bankruptcies in tourism, "however, we would not expect them for this year, but only in the course of the next few years, when the loans that the companies have received then have to be repaid," said the Wifo tourism expert Oliver Fritz the "Ö1 Journal at eight". (apa)