bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 28.06.2017 | Name days: Kitija, Viesturs, Viestards

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

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+2 rating, 2 votes)

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

Multi-storey building at Zolitude Tragedy site sold at an auction for 3.9 million euros

The multi-storey building located at the site of Zolitude tragedy in Riga, Priedaines Street 20, has been sold at an auction for EUR 3.9 million, according to information published at eizsoles.ta.gov.lv.

Registration of social service providers employs «silence means consent» principle

From now on administrative practice of institutions responsible for social service providers will employ a «silence means consent» principle to reduce bureaucracy. This means if service providers do not receive a response to their application from a ministry by a specific date, service providers will be well within their rights to commence providing services, explains Welfare Ministry.

Experts: Latvia either does not use advantages offered by technologies

In spite of wide technological opportunities to create a powerful digital economy, Latvia either does not know how or simply does not use those advantages. This hurts the country’s competitiveness on the global market.

Estonia pushed to ban low nutritional value products from schools

Food and drinks with a low nutritional value and rich in calories should not be sold in schools, sets forth a bill drafted by the Estonian Social Affairs Ministry and the Minister of Health and Labour.

CEOs admit – it is getting harder and harder to find new workers

Study results show that 60% of businesses admit it is getting harder and harder to find workers. This marks more complex personnel selection processes for employers, which often costs more time and money.

Opinion: consumption of dairy products in Latvia continues to decline

Consumption of dairy products continues to decline in Latvia, says Food Union Vice-President for strategy and businesses development matters Normunds Stanevics.

Russian military incidents over Baltic Sea unprofessional, not hostile, says NATO general

Aviation incidents involving Russian war planes above the Baltic Sea are not clearly hostile against NATO, but are rather unprofessional, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Gen. Petr Pavel has evaluated.

FCMC applies fines to three Latvian banks

Finance Capital and Market Commission in cooperation with United States Federal Bureau of Investigation found out that three Latvian banks – Baltikums Bank, Privatbank and Reģionālā investīciju banka – have not complied with requirements for combating money laundering and terrorism funding.

Role of NATO forces in Latvia’s state defence to be discussed in detail

On Tuesday, 27 June, Commander of Latvian National Armed Forces Major General Leonids Kalnins will meet with Lieutenant General Manfred Hofmann, who is the NATO's Multinational Corps North-East Headquarters Commander.

After successful Italian local election, Berlusconi sets sights on returning to power

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has been convicted of tax fraud, has hailed the results of the large support his party has received in alliance with two other parties in the Italian local election.

LCCI decides to request a review of state expenditure

During an extraordinary meeting on Monday, 26 June, Latvian Chamber for Commerce and Industry decided to withdraw its support for the medium-term tax strategy until the government is ready to return to guidelines approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

London outlines UK’s offer for post-Brexit stay of EU nationals

British Prime Minister Theresa May has stated she wishes for citizens of European Union member states to remain in the UK after the country leaves the bloc, outlining an offer for Brexit talks with Brussels.

Latvian ruling coalition agrees to introduce progressive PIT rate

The ruling coalition in Latvia has reached an agreement to differentiate personal income tax rate at 20%, 23% and 31%, as Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis told journalists after the coalition meeting.

Latvian Transport Ministry signs memorandum with Chinese Xinhua news agency

Transport Ministry’s State Secretary Kaspars Ozolins and Xinhua Vice-President Liu Siyang signed a memorandum on cooperation for mutual exchange of information associated with transport and logistics sector, BNN was informed by the ministry.

Opinion: Latvia is behind other countries both politically and economically

«Unfortunately, often the desire of our politicians to defend national interests is on par with that of the American president in relation to activities of Russian hackers. When two transit companies asked the government to compensate income of EUR 8.3 million lost because of the government’s stance on Ventspils Freeport’s involvement in Nord Stream 2 project, those businessmen were immediately called shameless,» Dienas Biznes journalist Egons Mudulis comments the situation with Nord Stream 2 project in Latvia.

Trial against Yanukovych suspended in Ukraine

A court in Kyiv has suspended the trial against the former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, over state treason charges. Kyiv Obolonskiy district court, Yanukovych's lawyers opposed the petition of state prosecutor Ruslan Kravchenko on the application of special judicial proceedings in the case in the absence of Yanukovych from court.

First share trading platform opens in Baltics

The first share trading platform in Baltic States – Shareswall portal – has officially opened.

Harmony comes to power in Daugavpils

With a majority of votes, Harmony’s candidate Andrejs Elksnins was elected as chairman of Daugavpils City Council on Monday, 26 June. This means this party is now in charge of two of Latvia’s largest cities.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian satellite launched to space

Lituanica SAT-2, a satellite developed by scientists of the Vilnius University and NanoAvionics company, was launched to space on a rocket from India on Friday, June 23.

Employers: to increase wages, tax rise must not be allowed

«Social and cooperation partners have taken active part in the development of tax reform guidelines. Nevertheless, the ruling coalition is taking its time with making this important decision. On top of that, the ruling coalition is ignoring opinions from employers and employees,» say Latvian Employers' Confederation.

Residents of fire unsafe London blocks asked to move out

Following the tragic London fire, local authorities are asking residents of fire unsafe tower blocks to move out, despite resistance from some residents.

LOS: chopping down trees while bird eggs are still in nests is intentional murder

Estimates presented by Latvian Ornithological Society show that every year more than 50,000 bird nests are destroyed by logging every year.

37.34 million euros – costs for inter-institutional information exchange

The costs of information exchange among state institutions are estimated around EUR 37.34 million, as stated by the State Chancellery.

Entire week expected to be rainy in Latvia

This week’s weather is expected to be volatile in Latvia. Air temperature this week will not exceed +25° C, according to the forecast from the State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Italian government bails out two banks for billions of euros

The government of Italy has intervened in the country’s commercial banking system to bail out two vulnerable banks for a total of 5.2 billion euros.