HoReCa is among the sectors most vulnerable to the effects of epidemics. Regardless of how bad the coronavirus outbreak gets in Poland, the panic and fear that it causes among the public could make people avoid restaurants and travel.
In our increasingly globalised and interdependent world, the risk of epidemic spread of infections has grown significantly. By 10 March, the novel coronavirus that emerged in China in late December had spread to as many as 115 countries. At the time of writing, Italy is the European country worst hit by the coronavirus. As of 10 March, the Italian government imposed nationwide measures to contain its spread, including a total ban on public gatherings and mass events and closure of cinemas and theatres, as well as schools and universities. And bars and restaurants have to close at 6.00 PM at the latest.
Poland announced its first confirmed case of covid-19 on 4 March. By the morning of 11 March, the number had risen to 25. The Polish government has already responded by banning mass events, while some universities and schools have cancelled classes. Further restrictions are set to be enacted as the number of cases rises.
Tourism set to suffer most?
In late February the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) estimated that the decline in Chinese spend on tourism caused by the coronavirus would reduce global tourism revenue by at least $22bn or €20bn.
According to PMR estimates, Poland will receive more than 450,000 fewer foreign tourists in 2020 due to the epidemic, assuming that its impact on the industry will last for three months, from February to April 2020.
As well as a significant fall in inbound tourism, the coronavirus is also likely to cause a drop in domestic tourism.
Therefore, the part of the HoReCa market that is set to be hit particularly hard is hotel gastronomy. According to PMR estimates, under a pessimistic scenario the value of the hotel gastronomy market in 2020 will be nearly PLN 40m (€9.3m) lower than previously assumed.
A major blow to HoReCa?
But we should also expect Poles to get out and eat out less often because of the coronavirus, thus hurting restaurants and bars. On the other hand, the epidemic could provide a boost to the food delivery market – assuming, of course, that restaurants continue to operate.
The coronavirus will have a major negative effect on the catering market, too. With fewer events and gatherings, the revenues of catering firms will suffer.
Regardless of how bad the epidemic gets in Poland, the sheer panic and fear that it creates could make Poles avoid restaurants and travel. The ultimate blow for the sector, of course, would be the closure of gastronomic outlets and hotels.
The analysis prepared by a reason of PMR report: HoReCa market in Poland 2020.
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