The increase in the number of covid-19 infections is bearing weight on a sector already severely impacted by the confinement: the hotel sector.
Whether due to Belgium’s classification of Luxembourg as an “orange zone”, and measures taken by Germany and the warning issued by its federal ministry of foreign affairs, hotels since the beginning of the week have been witnessing an increased number of cancelations from customers of these two countries.
“It’s painful to have to slow down again, when all you have is one desire to work,” said Louis Scholtès, executive chef of the Hotel Meliá in Kirchberg. The same goes for Esch-sur-Alzette at the Seven Hotel, where the multiple cancellations are hard, both for finances and morale…
But this new blow is above all felt in the regions that make a living from leisure tourism, such as the Moselle, where the hotel L’Écluse, for example, has reported a large number of cancellations from Belgian and German customers.
The Sporthotel Leweck, a veritable institution in the Ettelbruck region, has also seen its Belgian clientele cancel overnight stays, but it can count on the loyalty of its Luxembourg clients who’ve represented a large portion of its livelihood over several generations.
“More positive communication”
The secretary general of Horesca (the national federation of hoteliers, restauranteurs and cafetiers), François Koepp, insists that the public authorities must communicate in a more positive and reassuring manner so that the blow to the sector isn’t fatal: “We test our population with care and determination, and this is precisely what should allow us to tell visitors that our country is safe in terms of tourism. I think it’s important to communicate it on a large scale because it’s another tough trial for the industry.”
For Horesca secretary general François Koepp, it's positive communication on the part of public authorities which will allow the hotel sector to face the new challenge. Photo: Romain Gamba/Maison Moderne
He clarifies his thoughts with conviction: “The centres of infection are mainly gatherings with a large number of people. There are no cases of transmission in establishments in the hotel and catering sector. We must emphasise this positive aspect and reassure Belgian and German customers.”
This article originally appeared in French on Paperjam and has been translated and edited by Delano.