New cash registers boost Swede hospitality sector

Turnover in Sweden's hotel and restaurant industry increased sharply last year, as did bankruptcies, following the implementation of new certified cash registers on January 1st, 2010.

New cash registers boost Swede hospitality sector

“I can see only one explanation frankly, and it is that the cash registers have had an effect,” said Eva Östling Ollén, the president of the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association (Sveriges Hotell- och Restaurangföretagare, SHR), on Saturday.

“They have cleansed the industry and in this way, I think one can see a positive outcome in the bankruptcies,” she added.

Last year, corporate bankruptcies on the whole fell by 10 percent in Sweden. However, the hospitality industry went against the grain, with bankruptcies increasing by 14 percent to a total of 474 in 2010, trade magazine Hotellrevyn recently reported.

Certified cash registers were introduced in the industry on January 1st last year. As a result, turnover in the industry has increased and at the same time, the number of failed companies.

“Many have suffered now that one must account for every krona, but it is a measure that is necessary,” said Östling Ollén.

Another possible explanation behind the outcome is that business travel and conferences have not recovered to the same levels they were at before the financial crisis.

“It can of course be a possible explanation, but it is not where the big change is,” said Östling Ollén.

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Merkel slams state plans to open hotels for families over Christmas

Chancellor Angela Merkel has reportedly slammed plans by state leaders to allow families to stay over the festive period.

Merkel slams state plans to open hotels for families over Christmas
Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

What's happening?

Contact restrictions will be relaxed over Christmas and New Year to allow for low-key celebrations in Germany.

But will people be able to travel and stay in hotels while visiting their family and friends? The federal government and states are in disagreement about this.

Currently, hotels throughout Germany are only allowed to accommodate people travelling for essential reasons such as business. That's because during the partial lockdown, which has been extended until at least December 20th, there is a ban on tourist overnight stays throughout the country.

However some states have decided to go their own way and allow relatives to stay in hotels over the festive season.

IN DETAIL: Germany extends coronavirus shutdown and tightens restrictions


Which states are offering hotel stays?

Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony announced they will allow hotels to open over the holiday break.

Other states are considering this move too.


What's the reaction?

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the government are not happy about this move.

Merkel warned that it risked worsening the coronavirus resurgence hitting Germany, participants in a conservative party meeting said on Monday.

According to Reuters, Merkel said she couldn't understand why states are allowing hotels to accommodate family, particularly in large cities and regions with high infection numbers.

She also criticised that state premiers had not informed her about this plan.

“Citizens remain called upon to avoid tourist trips,” said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert later on Monday. Travel for family reasons is difficult to distinguish from this, he added.

A hotel in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Seibert then referred to last Wednesday's meeting at the government and states summit – the decision did not include “private use” of hotels, he said.

Despite Merkel and the government's comments, the state leaders have the final say on what happens to hotels under the federal system.

Skiiing holidays 'could worsen situation'

Seibert also said that the German government was sticking to the goal set by Merkel of limiting the skiing season in cooperation with neighbouring countries because of the pandemic. Seibert said that the number of infections could rise again “by starting the skiing season too early”.

The closure of ski resorts is the subject of fierce debate in the EU. Austria and Switzerland want to open their slopes. Besides Germany, Italy is also in favour of closure. France does not want to ban skiing holidays, but wants to prohibit the operation of lifts.