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Tuesday 23.01.2018 | Name days: Strauta, Grieta
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Palanga offers 1 euro day dinner amid unseasonably chilly July

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Basanavičius street, Palanga

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

If you were to turn your ear to Palanga hoteliers and restaurateurs these days, the main story line is the same: this high season is bad and moreover – one of the worst ever. The lamenting is usual, many locals would say. On the other hand, the unseasonably low summer temperatures, gusts and tropical June and early July downpours have shooed many potential holidaymakers away.

Is the situation really so bad?

Well, it depends on who you’re ready to listen to.

«Well, it is enough to take a look at the scarce passer-by flows on Basanavičius street, which is the resort’s main artery. You won’t see many people in the terraces, even at night. Weather rarely coddles Palanga in June, but July is usually abundant with sunshine. Not this year, however, unfortunately for local café and restaurant owners – we see only rain,» Artūras Timukas, owner of «Devintam Danguj» restaurant, a popular local hangout spot, told BNN.

Indeed, the prolonged downpours have soaked the seashore, gnawing away parts of it.  With the water creeping close, owners of some beach patios had to use sandbags to rein it in.

Some of the beach guard stations are still at risk and sandbags are handy.

Vying for the scarcer than usually July visitors, some restaurants have launched yet unheard marketing campaigns, inviting all to have dinner of the day for one euro.

First it was «Laukinių Vakarų salūnas», a trendy café and night club, known for its youthful clientele at day and testosterone-driven customers at night, as well as for a stout black host at the entrance, that started to lure all to come in for a one-euro dinner.

It has created a good deal of buzz in local and national media, with many wondering whether Palanga is ready to rid of the trope as an expensive resort.

Explaining what many see as a well thought out marketing, Audrius Mikalauskas, the café’s manager, noted that, this year in particular, many visitors are price-savvy and tend to tighten the purse strings.

«There is a significant part of people who come here, saunter around and ask others for cheaper spots to eat. Therefore, we decided to respond accordingly, pricing all cheaper dishes with one euro,» he said.

In his words, the decision paid off, with many of the penny-pinching holidaymakers willing to try the novelty.

«The interest is tangible. The number of the type of guests depends on weather. But we’ve had a good deal of the customers by now. Both youth, visitors and local workforce like one euro dinner,» Mikalauskas said, noting that the café has slashes its menu prices up to 40 per cent during rainy days.

For one euro, the guest can get a bowl of soup and a 120-130 gram portion of balandėliai, a national dish made of minced meat stuffed in boiled cabbage leaves, for example.

However, the case is misleading, conjuring up an impression that Palanga has become an all-affordable holiday destination.

Although most of local restaurants do respond accordingly to the volume of the human flow outside, the range of dish prices has virtually changed little, or has not at all over the last year.

You may spend from 8-15 euros for your main dish in 80 per cent of Palanga restaurants, up to 40 euros in a handful of them, including «Žuvinė» on Basanavičius street, and up to a whopping 100 euros – or more! – in the A-list clientele catering «Pušųpaunksnėje», a restaurant owned by the family of the legendary Lithuanian basketball player, Arvydas Sabonis.

«Indeed, Palanga offers a wide variety of services in a different range of prices. Naturally, the prices are on a higher end in Basanavičius street, but further from it they drop significantly,» Šarūnas Vaitkus, mayor of Palanga, says.

He, however, acknowledges that some local entrepreneurs tend to spike upthe prices and he regrets it.

«Excessively high prices do make harm to the resort’s image. Sadly, there are still some businessmen who, in a couple of months, want to ear for the rest of year. From my experience, they come here from elsewhere. On the other hand, if there’re people who are willing to pay more, there will be someone who will be charging more,» the mayor emphasised. «I’d say this: the resort offers many places where the visitor is respected in spite of the width of the wallet.»

Agreeing, Ingrida Valaitienė, head of Palanga’s Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRA), says that the variety of prices and services has become Palanga’s signature feature. Especially so this summer.

«The fact that some places started offering outlandishly low prices, even for one euro, suggests that even part of the local businesses got fed up with the continuous message that Palanga is a place of frightening prices. Palanga accommodates very different types of visitors. From those affording a five euro per night room in the attic of a wooden house belonging to a local granny (many local senior residents tend to rent their free rooms and can be quite bothersome offering their services in the local bus station-L.J.) to those who let with ease thin their pockets by 300 euro per night for a room in a five-star local hotel,» the PHRA head said.

According to Valaitienė, it is too premature to make conclusions on the year’s high season, but the flexibility of prices is definitely one of the summer’s defining features.

«In terms of the make-up of the visitors, Estonians and especially Latvians are abundant here so far. Meanwhile, many Lithuanians in such summers like to go to what we call Latvia’s «wild» beaches in Pape and around it,» she said.

As for Russian guests, their numbers have reduced since the worsening of the geopolitical situation following annexation of Crimea, she noted.

«Western tourists have not replaced them since then. I’d say we’re seeing more local people arriving at Palanga and they have partly replaced Russians. Yet not locals but foreigners are a sought-after clientele by Palanga hotels for a single reason: foreigners make bookings in advance, meanwhile Lithuanians book late and tend to do cancellations,» the PHRA head noted.

The average occupancy of Palanga hotels is at around 70-90 per cent for the weekend, Valaitienė said.

Not bad, uh?

Ref: 020/111.111.111.4743


Leave a reply

  1. Trevor Hudson says:

    It might encourage more people to visit Palanga if the Parking charges were reduced, over 5 Euros for 3 hours parking is a right Rip Off

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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