bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 23.01.2017 | Name days: Strauta, Grieta

Palanga restaurateurs and hoteliers whine about «worst ever» high tourist season

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+2 of 2)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Few summers please sun-worshiping Palanga restaurateurs and hoteliers, but this year’s high tourist season in Lithuania’s Baltic resort has been the worst, ever, they insist. Late summer crowds, so usual for the time of year in the lush resort, are nowhere to be seen and scarce saunterers on Palanga’s main promenade are idle and penny-pinching.

«Indeed, as an old resident of Palanga, I don’t think I have ever witnessed so few people in mid-July, the peak of Palanga’s high tourist season. Behind the slowness is the euro adoption», is convinced Bronius Martinkus, a department head at the Palanga municipality. He added: «During the first year with the euro, people cosied up with it and continued spending out of inertness. It was as if wearing a pair of rosy-colour glasses, but with the money petering out, all started being very cognizant of the new situation in the wallets.»

Yet the usual summer bustle would have not gone anywhere even with the euro if not for the continuously rainy days and weeks on the Baltic coast.

A Lithuania meteorologist has observed that this summer, over a span of nearly two months, only a dozen of days have remained dry round the clock.

A short summer downpour with following thunderstorm is refreshment for all in Palanga, but when it rains cats and dogs for days is truly unbearable.

«The euro coupled with the weather has wreaked havoc in many vacationers’ plans. On the other hand, those who made it here could obtain cheaper accommodation and food. Again, because of the weather,» Martinkus said.

Approached in mid-July, Alvydas Meškys, owner of Gamanta Hotel in central Palanga, sounded upbeat despite the prolonged rain throughout the month: «I hope that August will make up for murky July.»

But now, with the month of August counting last days, the hotelier is sombre: «Unfortunately, the summer has not been what we expected. But that is how Palanga is – summers are very different here.»

Although the hotel’s occupancy, despite the soaking rain, is this summer on the level of last year’s but this is owing to 40 per cent lesser hotel prices this summer, the hotelier says.

«In August last year, I’d charge around 80 euro for a standard double-bed room and I had to slash the price to 45-50 euros this August, a result of tepid bookings,» Meškys said.

According to him, most of the guests came from Belarus, Estonia, Latvia and, surprisingly, there were more Russian tourists.

«Russians are coming back, slowly but steadily. I chalked it up to the improving economic situation in Russia. Perhaps the people have overcome the biggest burdens amid the stand-off with the West,» Meškys pondered.

Speaking to Palangos tiltas, the newspaper published in Palanga, Nastasia Žutautaitė, head of Gabija Hotel, pondered in July that behind the slower than usual summer lies geopolitical tensions.

«Holidays in Turkey are less costly this summer because of the fallout from the conflict between Russia and Turkey. It is plausible that part of Lithuanians, who would usually come here for their summer holidays, chose Turkey instead,» she reasoned.

Many of local artisans, like Vytautas Šlepavicius, the vendor of amber articles, grumbles that the summer is only loss-making.

«The summer is in no comparison to any other in my memory. There are way fewer passers-by; just June was abundant with people. Most of the time, I’d sit behind the stall only for a few hours. No business at all,» the craftsman complained.

Before, he says, Russians would buy up most of his amber jewelry, but with them gone, the business has been slow.

«Russians were very curious and we would engage in long talks about the artworks. Now I have nobody to talk to. The Belarusians, whose presence is larger this summer, do not even cast their glance towards my stall,» the Palanga resident lamented.

Another artisan noted that, with fewer Russians around, there are more tourists from other Slavic countries, Belarus and Ukraine.

She, however, also praised Russians: «They had money and were eager to spend it. Not the other Slavs who skimp on everything,»

Usually very blunt, Irena Švanienė, the chairman of Palanga’s private accommodation sector-representing organization «Svetingas šeimininkas», claimed there has been «very little» of summer this year.

«Only June has drawn more tourists than usually. July was rainy and August is wet, too. Altogether, I think that people starting to come to grips with the euro. Last year, many would be quite reckless with it and, this year, many are having a sobering reality check,» the hotelier told BNN.

In her words, what before the euro adoption cost one litas, already the defunct Lithuanian currency, now the price for the item is one euro. The purchasing power has decreased,» she emphasised.

Although Palanga has made envious strides in developing its infrastructure lately, the resort lacks a spacey indoor amusement facility, where the tourists could flock while it rains, Švanienė notes.

For Vaidas Šimaitis, a Palanga entrepreneur and councilman, the visible decline in tourist flows this summer besides the other reasons is about Brexit.

«In the wake of Brexit, many Lithuanian UK emigrants double think whether to go on holiday amid the weaker British pound,»  he told BNN.

But Eligija Smilingienė, interim director of Palanga’s Tourism and Information Centre, tends to downplay the local entrepreneurs’ «whimpering», saying that the centre’s figures on Palanga visitors shows the opposite – an increase in the tourist traffic.

«But they do not perhaps represent the real situation, as we usually have more walk-ins when it rains. The worse weather is the busier it gets at our office,» she claimed.

The situation will be clearer when Palanga wraps up its season in mid-October.

Asked to break-down the tourist traffic, she says that there have been fewer Russians in Palanga this summer, but the numbers of other Slavic guests were picking up.

«Especially, we could talk of an influx of Belarusian tourists, as well as Ukrainians, a result of the direct flights with Minsk and Kyiv,» the tourism centre head explained.

Germans, Scandinavians, Poles, Latvians and Estonians were also abundantly mingling in Palanga, she says.

Smilingienė quips that no summer is up to the local businessmen’s expectations.

«Hearing the whining, I think maybe some of the hoteliers and restaurateurs ought to check their business strategy. Maybe some need to think of how to advertise differently? If you were to look around, you would always spot some cafes bustling with the others nearby semi-empty,» she noted.

Meanwhile, the Palanga Municipality also rebuts the entrepreneurs’ claims over the disastrous summer, insisting that the authority has collected more local fees this summer than a year ago.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.4025


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania. CIA declassifies document on Lithuania’s post-WWII guerrillas

A report about guerrilla fighting against the Soviet occupation after World War II is among hundreds of thousands of declassified documents published online by the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

People no longer believe in their own country, because they associate it with people who make decisions

The biggest threat to Latvia is the fact that society, including state officials, is afraid. People are afraid of change, afraid of voicing their thoughts (thoughts that often do not comply with the politically correct stance), afraid of being misunderstood. Fear makes it harder to develop. It limits people’s internal freedom. Such is the opinion Inga Antane, president of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics and sworn attorney of Triniti law firm, explained in her interview to Atbalsts.

Expert: «Lithuania’s renewed National Security Strategy is a «hodgepodge»

This week, the Lithuanian Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a renewed National Security Strategy, laying out 14 major hazards and risk factors to national security.

Industry: advertisements contribute the entire economy of the European Union

Every euro invested in advertisement has seven times the influence on a country’s GDP. Every one euro brings seven euros in return to the country’s GDP, as emphasized by Latvian Advertising Association, noting that advertisement sector contributes to employment in all of the European Union.

Six deputies applied with administrative penalties in Saeima’s autumn session

According to information provided to the parliament, six deputies were applied with administrative penalties during Saeima’s autumn session.

Slower economic growth for Estonia forecast – at 2.2% - for 2017

The economic growth of Estonia in 2017 will be slower than previously expected, Swedbank economists have announced lowering their previous economic forecast for the Baltic country by 0.2% to 2.2%.

Latvian and Lithuanian authorities dismantle two criminal groups

Latvian State Revenue Service’s Finance Police has successfully apprehended two organized crime groups that caused significant damage to the state budget in 2015 and 2016 by realizing different VAT fraud schemes.

Estonia to drop special pensions, push forward sweeping pension reforms

The Estonian government has decided to drop special pensions and to push forward with plans regarding other significant changes in the pension system, including tying the retirement age to the average life expectancy.

KNAB performs inspection about Jakrins’ approval in the board of Rīgas satiksme

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau intends to inspect if the approval of acting head of Riga City Council’s Transport Department Emils Jakrins in the management board of Rīgas satiksme had any signs of breach of good management principles.

Chinese GDP up 6.7% in 2016

World’s second largest economy has seen a 6.7% growth in 2016, Chinese official data show, which indicate that the gross-domestic-product increase has been slower than the 6.9% seen in 2015 and the slowest since 1990.

Dozens buried in Italy’s avalanche-stricken hotel

Italy has been shaken by a number of earthquakes this week, one of which has triggered an avalanche burying a mountain hotel, where at least two people have been found dead and dozens more a searched for through rubble and snow.

Weekends to experience frost and thaw; drivers urged to be careful

Weather in Latvia will not be stable in the next couple of days – cloudy weather with some precipitation will be mixed with periods of clear sky, according to State Environmental, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Logistics Industry Council assesses results of 16+1 summit

Experts say container cargoes have the potential to bring major contribution to the logistics sector. With that, LDz Logistics intends to continue organizing the next container train from China, as well as cooperate with partners from Belarus and China in the context of the Great Stone industrial park, as BNN was informed by Transport Ministry’s representative Ilze Greiskalna.

Parliament supports amendments to avoid expensive land-measuring actions

It will no longer be necessary to prepare land border plan for entry of land units in the Land Book. It will help save budget funds, as it will not be necessary to perform land-measuring actions, as reported by Saeima press-service.

CP supervisors concerned about Latvijas Gāze’s contract terms

The Competition Council is concerned about Latvijas Gāze’s behaviour in the process of liberalization of the country’s gas market. Economy Ministry has submitted a draft of the Gas Trade and Use Rules to the Cabinet of Ministers Committee for review.

Germany seeks clarity from Trump’s government, to boost military spending

Berlin has emphasised plans to increase defence spending after facing criticism from upcoming U.S. President Donald Trump on NATO countries not meeting their spending commitments.

Saeima re-elects Elita Krumina as State Auditor

On Thursday, 19 January, the Saeima re-elected Elita Krumina in the post of State Auditor.

Saeima supports formation of aircraft passenger data registry to combat terrorism

On Thursday, 19 January, Latvia’s Saeima approved the Aircraft Passenger Data Processing Law in the final reading. This will form the passenger data registry.

Milk retail price in Estonia reaches 55 cents per litre after to price hikes

After a long period of low milk purchase prices in Estonia, milk retail prices in the Baltic country have increased twice, reaching the point where famers receive just enough to cover milk production costs.

Ventspils Freeport carries Lembergs around with luxurious car worth EUR 156,000

In spite of a 16.44% turnover decline, Ventspils Freeport bought a lux-class Audi A8L W12 for EUR 156,000 last year. It’s only known passenger so far has been the formally suspended chairman of Ventspils City Council Aivars Lembergs, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Estonia concludes bilateral defence framework deal with Finland

Estonia and Finland have signed a bilateral defence cooperation framework agreement aiming for closer and more regular cooperation in the field by the neighbouring countries.

Biden: Wealthiest 1% does not pay enough in taxes

The «top 1% is not carrying their weight», outgoing U.S. vice-president, Joe Biden evaluated at the World Economic Forum, insisting the world's wealthiest that they do not pay enough in taxes.

Latvia and Japan sign convention on attraction of foreign investments

In Tokyo, Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister Motome Takisawa signed a convention between the two countries on double taxation prevention for income tax.

FM: problems with real estate tax cannot be resolved with tax rate corridor

Real estate tax benefits for housing area could be applied for each person declared living in each respective house. Each benefit can be applied to the building and land, Finance Ministry’s representative Aleksis Jarockis reported on conclusions made by the work group responsible for amendments.

Turkey’s New Year’s terrorist admits choosing nightclub randomly

The main suspect of the attack in Istanbul, which left 39 people dead during New Year’s celebrations, had selected randomly the place of attack.

When do you pay fines for speeding?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: