The five-star Athens Imperial Hotel in Karaiskaki Square in the heart of Athens has gone bankrupt and will close from 31 May this year. It is a part of the "Daskalonakis" business group and is the fourth hotel from the chain closed last year. The capacity of the Athens Imperial, which is to be closed, is 237 rooms. The Acropol with 167 rooms and the Fashion House Hotel with 115, which are located on Omonia Square, are the remaining three hotels that ingloriously stopped working last year. Although they are in the heart of the city and with direct access to the historic landmarks and the main public transport facilities (underground, electric train and road transport), the hotels failed to keep the flow of tourists. Constant strikes, protests and blockades in the centre of Athens proved to be the main reason for the decrease in bookings. Moreover, Greek media stated that the "Daskalonakis" holding has made significant investment in the development of conference tourism. The turmoil following the height of the crisis has affected it more than the stay in Greece for holidays.
The Baby Grand Hotel on Ahtinas Street is closed for repairs, according to official information. Inside sources claimed that the main problem with this hotel is its location. It is situated in an area in the historic centre of Athens, which is still teeming with crime and illegal immigrants. It is considered a dangerous place for tourists and not many guests stay at the hotel despite its pleasant atmosphere inside.
The decline of the tourist flow to the Greek capital has proved devastating to many hotels in Athens, and the ensuing political instability has further dissuaded many foreigners from Western Europefrom choosing Greece as a destination for their annual leave. Since early 2011, Athens has lost 20 hotels which has reduced the total number of beds offered by 2700 beds or about 22%. Three thousand jobs were lost too. According to the Athens Hoteliers' Association, visits to the city dropped by 20.5% for the period December 2011 - February 2012 compared with the same period a year ago. The booking rate of hotel units in Athens was the lowest in the last three months compared with the other European capitals. In December last year, this rate was 60.1% and in January 2012, it was 38.3%.
"This year’s May is the worst for years. If June, September and October in 2012 prove the same, it will be a disaster for tourism in Athens," said Alexandros Vassilikos, chairman of the Athenian Association of Hoteliers. The head of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises Andreas Andreadis pointed out that the failure to establish a coalition government has significantly decreased the tourist interest.
Foreign tourist agencies advise the guests of Greece to bring more cash in the summer of 2012 to be able to leave the country if it exits the euro area this summer. This scenario assumes that if the national currency returns, the banks in the country will temporarily close to prevent a mass withdrawal of deposits. Electronic cards will be blocked and ATMs will be emptied. The decline in tourist flow will possibly reach 1.5 million people this year, according to tourist offices, which will cost the Greek economy about 1% of GDP.