SOS from hotels in Europe: Lockout risk for thousands of businesses

What the European Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes (HOTREC) proposes to the extraordinary council of energy ministers

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The European Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes (HOTREC) is sounding the alarm, which in a letter calls on the Energy Ministers, who are meeting in an emergency meeting today, Friday, to reduce energy prices in order to save thousands of hospitality businesses from bankruptcy.

“The hospitality sector is a major contributor to the EU economy, representing 2 million companies (90% of which are micro-enterprises) and employing 12 million people. Despite this significant record, the sector has recently been facing many challenges, namely high food prices, labor shortages, high inflation levels, while still recovering from COVID-19» he says characteristically.

He also adds that companies in the sector report an increase in the price of energy consumption between 200%-600%. And he warns that bankruptcies are a reality in some cases, while other companies are carefully analyzing their business models to consider whether they can stay open or whether they should close. "Our sector is highly dependent on energy (eg heating and cooling) to provide guests with the services they expect," the statement said.

HOTREC welcomes the Commission's proposal, "as the situation is extremely serious and calls on Member States to approve it".

"Energy prices have to come down and companies have to have access to energy to survive."

In addition, HOTREC calls on the Council to take into account that 2020 and 2021 should not be included in the reference period of the regulation, at least in the case of the hospitality sector, as most companies in the sector were completely closed for a long period of time. The reference period should cover the 3 years on average with the highest consumption of the last five years.

“We continue to call on businesses to be energy efficient, save energy as much as possible and follow the transition to renewable energy sources. However, we must keep in mind that companies need affordable energy and food prices to operate," he concludes.