With much of continent still affected by strict Covid-19 lockdowns, Moscow hotels surge ahead to top European occupancy charts

With other countries hampered by Covid-19 restrictions and canceled flights, Moscow has overtaken the rest of Europe to become the continent’s leader in hotel occupancy. The Russian capital has been in the top spot since November.

With other countries hampered by Covid-19 restrictions and canceled flights, Moscow has overtaken the rest of Europe to become the continent’s leader in hotel occupancy. The Russian capital has been in the top spot since November.

That’s according to Moscow daily Vedomosti, citing a report from the Chicago-based consulting company Cushman & Wakefield.

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The newspaper revealed that, in November 2020, Moscow hotels were filled at 39 percent capacity, beating out previous leader Istanbul. Occupancy in the Russian capital has continued to grow, reaching 43.3 percent in December and 43.6 percent in January. Last month’s numbers are significantly higher than the current second-place city, Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku (26 percent).

While much of the continent is still in strict lockdown, life is almost back to normal in Russia. Although international flights are severely reduced, internal air traffic is fully up and running. In the capital, nearly all restrictions have been removed, including the re-opening of bars and nightclubs in January.

Because of the free movement around the country and the lack of strict measures, the hotel market in Moscow has had a better chance to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Marina Smirnova, the head of hotel and tourism at Cushman & Wakefield, the difference in hotel occupancy from January 2020 (60 percent) to January 2021 (43.6 percent) highlights the drop in demand from foreign guests.

“If you look at average monthly occupancy of Moscow hotels in September-December 2020, it was in the range of 40-47%,” she said, according to Construction Magazine. “This is the volume of domestic demand the capital’s hotels can count on, even taking into account the current difficult economic conditions and a number of remaining restrictions.”

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The numbers have revealed that Covid-19 has dramatically changed the face of Europe’s hotel industry. In January 2020, London (70.55 percent) held the top spot, with Moscow in 15th place, behind the likes of Paris, Manchester, and Madrid.

However, despite a good level of occupancy, Moscow hotels have seen a considerable drop in revenue, with the decline in the average cost of rooms still hitting the industry’s pockets.

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