Hestia Hotel Group to lay off fewer workers than initially planned

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Hestia Hotel Group, who announced a collective layoff in May, will make 35 people redundant instead of 190 after plans were made to reopen hotels in Estonia and Latvia. The group's nine hotels will reopen this month.

At the start of May the company did not have much to be optimistic about as business had declined by 90 percent compared to March when the emergency situation was announced. But business is slowly starting to pick up once again.

"The information we had in May was that restrictions for travel will stand until the end of summer, which is why we, unfortunately, had to lay off a large amount of staff. The situation is a little better today and for us to open all of our hotels in Estonia and Latvia, we need more hands-on-deck," said CEO of Hestia, Kaisa Mailend.

Mailend believes the tourism sector will recover much more rapidly than initial projections showed. "As a result of the relaxations of restrictions and the opening of borders, we can see that the amount of bookings have started to gradually grow."

There is no talk of the sector's recovery yet. Though hotel prices are remarkably low and one might assume there are more clients, hotels still have to make an effort to make ends meet.

"There are certainly fewer hotels on the market, but there are also fewer clients. So maybe, to give a guideline, we'll be on our low season prices at today's high season," Mailend said.

Collective layoffs were stoped but the company does not exclude the possibility that it may have to lay off more people in the future if the coronavirus returns and affects the sector again.

According to the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association (EHRL) it is still too early to say that things in the hospitality sector are fine.

Head of EHRL, Ain Käpp told ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Wednesday that most hotels in Estonia are still waiting on the opening of Finnish and Swedish borders.

"Tourists do not have access to our country. If we take into consideration that hotels are still closed, then the turnover, compared to last year, is around 5 to 10 percent," Käpp said.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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