Business news

Travel and hospitality services hit worst in first Covid-19 wave

Ljubljana, 19 November (STA) - The services sector has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. In Slovenia, the biggest monthly drop in services income was recorded in April, a 18.4% decrease. Pub, restaurant or cafe owners and travel agencies were hit worst in the months following the first epidemic declaration, a Statistics Office study shows.


Following the April drop, income figures were rising for three consecutive months and in July they were higher by 6.6% on June. However, services income dropped again in August, this time by 2% on the month before.

The August figure also indicated a 10.7% decrease year-on-year, a smaller drop compared to downward trends at the annual level in the first months after the epidemic was declared in March - for example, in April, the year-on-year drop was 28.9%.

Restaurants, bars and cafes closed in mid-March and some of them were open again for business in early May. Food deliveries and take aways were their only options in the lockdown period.

Their income in March was already lower by 57.7% compared to February and they recorded a 62.4% monthly drop in April, the study, released on Thursday, shows.

In May, when restrictions were mainly lifted, the figure increased by 214.9% on April, however it was still 45.1% below the figure recorded in May 2019.

The summer months brought some relief, but income was still reduced by 10%-20% compared to the same period in 2019.

Travel agencies or other travel-related services have had it even worse though, having suffered the biggest decrease in income in the services sector. They recorded a 71.7% monthly drop in March and a 83% decrease month-on-month in April.

Following May the situation improved, however a year-on-year analysis again shows that 2020 has been a difficult year for them. The biggest annual drop was recorded in April - by 95.5% and during the May-August period year-on-year decreases were always above 70%.

The study provides further data indicating that Slovenian tourism was completely crippled in March and April. Between mid-March and mid-May there were none tourist arrivals and virtually zero overnight stays.

In June, the numbers of arrivals and overnight stays were at some 35% of the figures in June 2019.

Accommodation services recorded a 78.1% monthly drop in April. In June, the figure rose by 185.8% on May, likely due to the government measure introducing holiday vouchers, however it was still reduced by 60.8% on June 2019.

When it comes to annual comparisons, a Covid-related drop in income was less significant in summer. In July, the year-on-year decrease was 21.8% and in August 15.8%.