European cold snap freezes hotel prices

General view of the Hotel Carlton in Lille, northern France. (	
REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)
The cold wave that has frozen Europe since the end of January also seems to have chilled travelers’ enthusiasm. Many hotels have slashed their prices to a record minimum to attract tourists.

­A whole host of popular destinations in Europe including Prague, Budapest, Oslo and Copenhagen are seeing a price drop in February compared to January, according to the Hotel Price Index prepared by Trivago tourist web-portal.

In the Czech capital, for instance, average hotel prices dropped some 26% to 73 euro per night, while in Budapest the average price for a double room fell by 6% to 59 euro. Prices in Edinburgh and Munich are down 7% and prices in Dublin 5%.

Besides the unusually cold weather, the tourist industry is also affected by the current debt crisis in Greece, Portugal and Spain. In Athens prices fell 12% compared to February 2011, with hotels reporting their lowest rates since May 2008. In Spanish Valencia, hotel prices are down by 13% to 78 euro, while Madrid’s hotel prices fell by 6% to 97 euro.

Some European destinations however are still attracting thousands of tourists despite the cold and the debt crisis. Hoteliers in Venice say prices surged up by 35% during the city’s carnival on 11-21 February.