Polish Tatra resorts suffer 40 pct tourist traffic slump - lobby

Grzegorz Momot/PAP

The Polish Tatra Mountains will be visited by 40 percent fewer tourists in 2020 compared to the previous year as the coronavirus restrictions have scaled down tourist traffic, the Tatra Chamber of Commerce has reported.

Agata Wojtowicz, president of the lobby, said tourism was one of the industries that took the biggest hit during the epidemic that started in the spring.

"On the example of hotels, we can say that the fall in overnight stays has been more than 40 percent this year compared to the previous year," Wojtowicz said.

She added the industry was surprised by a second wave of government restrictions in the autumn, after being hit by the first lockdown in the spring.

"The hotels have been reporting losses every month since the autumn began," Wojtowicz said, adding that this also meant hard times for sub-contractors, such as advertising agencies, catering firms and laundry businesses.

"Until now, the tourist industry in the mountains used to build up their cash inventory during the winter season that enabled them to operate until the summer. If there is no cash, we can soon expect a wave of shut-downs and bankruptcies involving numerous human tragedies," the lobby head said.

"In the past, we survived different crises and economic slumps, but there has never been such a huge crisis for the tourist industry. Today, even with the (state) aid that the industry has received, we are unable to operate," Wojtowicz concluded.

Under the latest government restrictions, hotels and ski resorts will remain closed at least until January 17, 2021, to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The Polish government pins hopes on mass vaccinations that are first addressed to medics, uniformed services, social workers and teachers, and will become available to the senior citizens from mid-January. The general public will have to wait a little longer to get the jabs.