The Hungarian Baths were already in trouble when the new restrictions came in November and they had to be closed. It’s been half a year since then, yet they have managed to stay afloat, which …
A minor economic miracle. The hat drops in front of every fellow
– Attila Laszlo Poros, president of the Hungarian Baths Association, who told the index that it is understood that they should be closed in the event of an epidemic, but the owners and operators had to access various means to survive.
There were places where spa owners helped, and elsewhere they funded facility downtime and retention from bank loans, perhaps from past reserves or development funds, where government wage subsidies and contribution waivers played an important role. The situation is only exacerbated by the fact that the ray of hope for the opening has been constantly changing for a month or so, but they continue to persevere and look forward to the opening.
Although most spas tried to retain most of the workers, this was unfortunately not possible everywhere. According to information from the Hammamet Federation, 20 to 30 percent of the approximately 18,000 workers left the sector due to layoffs or because they decided to change themselves.
In other crisis sectors, many jobs were lost, but in any case, the sectoral wage subsidy meant a lot, which could have saved many jobs. But it is also true that the current situation can no longer be continued, the opening must come soon so that there is no larger wave of dismissals.
– Attila Poros-Laszlo told our newspaper, adding that they are constantly monitoring epidemiological data and vaccination processes, and they are confident that soon they will receive the green signal when the bathrooms can be opened again.
According to the president of the Spa Association, the scheduled opening is expected and they hope that from midsummer you can shower freely, or at least almost freely. From this standpoint, the baths began preparing for the opening of the spring with steam, that is, they equip the swimming pools and mechanical systems so that there are no more interruptions when they are opened.
Spas usually take two weeks to re-receive guests with all passes. A key component of the increased traffic after the opening is restoring visitors’ confidence, which could be helped greatly by increasing vaccination and the Hungarian Tourism Agency’s guide, which provides guidance for safe operation.
I am sure that the government will determine in due course the schedule for restarting the bathrooms. This is also important because it is necessary to prepare for the opening, obtain permits, and provide manpower for the operation, all of this cannot be done in advance, without a specific date.
– said Laszlo Attila Poros, who is very optimistic and predicts that in addition to using the Szép card, there will be strong local traffic in the summer, similar to last year, after all, after a long period of lockdown, most people want to go out, relax, sunbathe, And vacation, so there is great anticipation before the opening of the spa.
In the meantime, it is hoped that vaccinations will continue to progress at a good pace, avoiding the fourth wave as the bathing profession can no longer afford. Not the least of which is that they have already lost significant profits.
In peacetime, the local spa sector generates 95-100 billion HUF in revenue annually, more than 50 percent of it was surely lost last year, and close to 40 percent is expected to lose this year as well. This is why it is important for spas when they can reopen their doors to guests.
(Cover photo: Visitors to the Széchenyi Spa and Swimming Pool in Budapest on March 4, 2020. Photo: Tamás Kovács / MTI)