Services, with ‘two faces’. Overcome the crisis in 2020, but tourism “sunk” in loss
Services activity improved slightly in the last quarter of last year, continuing to remain at higher levels than the previous year. Thus, the net sales index in this sector increased by 3.2% in the 4th quarter of last year, compared to the same period of the previous year. The index of the salary fund and the number of employees have also increased. But, while the situation as a whole seems to have reversed the crisis caused by the pandemic, if we look at the data by type of activity, there is a drastic decline in the activity of hotels, bars and restaurants, as well as that of travel agencies, three components that illustrate quite well the dire situation in which the tourism sector in our country continues to be. Together with the transport and storage activity, these are the only activities that continue to be still in crisis, ie declining compared to 2019.
Travel agencies, where the net sales index is declining by 66%, and hotels, declining by about 40%, are the most hit activities, signal the official figures from the Institute of Statistics. It is followed by bars and restaurants, with a 19% drop in net sales. In the services sector, only trade, information and communication, as well as architectural and engineering activities are expanding compared to the pre-crisis period. Even in terms of wage bill index and number of employees, travel agencies, hotels and bars-restaurants record a sharp decline. For hotels, the index of the number of employees is recorded in a decrease of almost 30% compared to the previous year, and by about 27% that of the payroll. For bars and restaurants meanwhile, the decline is recorded at around 18% in the number of employees’ index and at around 17% in the payroll index.
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