bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Ceturtdiena 23.03.2017 | Name days: Mirdza, Žanete, Žanna

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

Saeima agrees to publish names of disciplinary punished judges

Publication of information about disciplinary penalties applied to judges, their names and surnames will no longer be prohibited, as stated by amendments to the Judicial Disciplinary Liability Law supported by the Saeima in the first reading on Thursday, 23 March.

Experts: internet users open up 30% of fraudulent e-mail letters

Cyber criminals are becoming more and more cunning and their fraudulent e-mails – harder and harder to differentiate from real ones. Internet users open up to 30% of fraudulent e-mail letters, explains eScan antivirus developers.

Minister: Latvia supports International Coalition’s fight against Daesh

«The fight of the International Coalition against Daesh has become a very effective instrument to help reduce Daesh military, financial and recruitment capabilities,» said Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

New pulp factory planned in Estonia

Estonian entrepreneurs have envisaged building a high-tech pulp-making plant near the city of Tartu and have submitted the plan for confirmation from Estonian national special planning authorities.

Ventspils Freeport Authority announces procurement

Procurement has been announced for the construction of an access road in Ventspils, Talsu Street 200 and landscaping of nearby territories so that one of the land tenants can commence construction of their building there, as reported by Ventspils Freeport.

Estonian investors consider construction of pulp factory in Latvia

Investors that consider building a pulp factory worth EUR 1 billion in Estonia’s southern region allow for the possibility of getting permission for the same project in Latvia, because this process can take a long time in Estonia.

Russian singer barred from going to Eurovision in Kyiv

Ukrainian authorities have banned Russian Eurovision representative from entering Ukraine, where the pop song contest Eurovision is to be held in May.

Travel passports planned to be introduced in Latvia

Deputies have submitted amendments to the Personal Identification Documents Law, suggesting the adoption of travel passports to avoid situations when people are denied the right to travel freely or participate in elections.

Tragic attack in London

In a tragic attack on civilians and police in London, five people have been killed and no less than 40 injured.

Farmers urge voting in favour of preserving land in the hands of local residents

A letter with a request to support farmers, countryside residents and amendments to the Law on Land Privatisation in Rural Areas has been sent to members of the Saeima.

Officials support Finance Ministry’s proposals for medium-term tax strategy

At the 22 March meeting of the National Economy Council, members of the parliament decided to conceptually support Finance Ministry’s proposals for medium-term tax strategy.

Ameriks received nearly 200,000 euros from fast loan companies in interest pay

Vice-Mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks received income of nearly 200,000 euros in interest pay from fast loan companies 4finance and Mogo last year, according to the declaration for 2016 submitted to the State Revenue Service.

Estonia to reduce availability of plastic bags in shops

Having passed amendments to the Estonian «Packaging Law», the Riigikogu has adopted a plan to reduce the use of plastic bags in the Baltic country over the coming years.

Latvian businesses in Japan to be provided with stable tax payment regime

Latvia businesses working in Japan will be provided with a stable tax payment regime that will not be influenced by amendments to Japan’s tax regulations, as stated in Saeima’s report.

Multiple parties to gather in a single candidate list to compete with Lembergs

Latvian Association of Regions, National Alliance, For Latvia’s Development and Unity will start at municipal elections in Ventspils under a single candidate list, said the leader of this unified list Girts Valdis Kristovskis in an interview to Latvijas Avīze.

Reirs: ministry’s offered tax reform will change nothing for most pensioners

Finance Ministry’s offered tax reform will add only slight changes. Most pensioners will not feel any changes from this reform – neither good, nor bad, said Welfare Minister Janis Reirs in an interview to Rīta panorama.

Canadian ambassador: Latvia and Canada are closer than ever before thanks to CETA

«All Latvian exporting companies – those that already export goods to Canada and those that consider doing that – will benefit from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement,» says Foreign Affairs Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica.

Expert: cargo transports through Iran offer a major step for international logistics market

Over the course of nine months, since Latvian logistics company Pro Logistic Services opened an office in Iran, the volume of cargoes and the number of serviced clients has grown by 15%.

Eastern Hospital’s Gynaecology Clinic to be provided with 500,000 euros to reduce queues

Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital’s Gynaecology Clinic will be provided with funding of EUR 513,622 from the state budget to help reduce queues.

In pictures: Victims of Brussels’ terror attacks remembered in first anniversary

Remembering those killed and injured in last year’s terror attacks, remembrance events are held on Wednesday, March 22, in the Belgian capital.

Fourteen asylum seekers relocated from Greece to Latvia

As part of the European asylum-seeker resettlement programme, fourteen people in need of international protection were relocated from Greece to Latvia, as confirmed by a representative of Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

Fiat Chrysler investigated over alleged breaking of emissions tests

French investigators have opened a probe into possible emissions tests breaking by the Italian-American car builder Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in relation to its diesel cars.

National Alliance does not support increased ticket prices in Riga shuttle buses

On Tuesday, 21 March, Riga City Council’s faction of the National Alliance voted against Transport Department’s proposal to set one ticket price for Rīgas mikroautobusu satiksme shuttle bus services – EUR 1.15.

Visitors will be allowed to take photos of documents stored in National Archive

To simplify the use of documents stored in Latvia’s National Archive, visitors will be allowed to take photos of documents for research and personal purposes, announces Culture Ministry.

Rimi Baltic commences construction of a major logistics centre in Riga

Rimi Baltic has commenced construction of a retail trade industry project in Riga. This project will attract investments of EUR 75 million and make Latvia a Baltic logistical hub, as BNN was informed by the project’s representatives.