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Firm books out luxury island hotel till 2023

Tourists looking for luxury accommodation on the German island of Helgoland will be disappointed, as a wind-power company has booked every room in the island’s only high-end hotel - for the next ten years.

Firm books out luxury island hotel till 2023
Photo: DPA

The Atoll hotel is the tiny island’s most exclusive getaway and was hailed as a huge step forward for the Helgoland tourism industry when it was opened in 1999.

But visitors yearning for a weekend of luxury escapism will have to wait until 2023, as German wind-power company WindMW has booked out all 50 of the rooms for a decade starting January 1, 2013, daily newspaper Die Welt reported on Monday.

Company workers will be building a new wind farm near to the islands in the North Sea, and will be put up in Atoll, where rooms cost between €85 and €150 per night.

The mayor of Helgoland, which is less than two square kilometres in area, was less than impressed with the announcement, calling it a “blow to the island’s tourism industry.”

“Atoll really raised the bar when it came to accommodation,” Mayor Jörg Singer said in a statement.

The owner of the hotel, Arne Weber, seemed less concerned, and said that although tiny Helgoland was losing a luxury hotel, “who doesn’t dream of having year-round business?”

Helgoland, which lies in the North Sea, is made up of two small islands roughly three hours off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein. They were connected until 1720, when the conjoining land was destroyed by a storm.

Despite its miniscule size, the two islands have long been popular with tourists thanks to its interesting landscape, remote location, and history. During both the World Wars, Helgoland was used as a military base and was heavily bombed by Allied Forces.

The Local/jcw

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ECONOMY

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

Russia's war in Ukraine is slowing down the economy and accelerating inflation in Germany, the Ifo Institute has claimed.

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

According to the Munich-based economics institute, inflation is expected to rise from 5.1 to 6.1 percent in March. This would be the steepest rise in consumer prices since 1982.

Over the past few months, consumers in Germany have already had to battle with huge hikes in energy costs, fuel prices and increases in the price of other everyday commodities.

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With Russia and Ukraine representing major suppliers of wheat and grain, further price rises in the food market are also expected, putting an additional strain on tight incomes. 

At the same time, the ongoing conflict is set to put a dampener on the country’s annual growth forecasts. 

“We only expect growth of between 2.2 and 3.1 percent this year,” Ifo’s head of economic research Timo Wollmershäuser said on Wednesday. 

Due to the increase in the cost of living, consumers in Germany could lose around €6 billion in purchasing power by the end of March alone.

With public life in Germany returning to normal and manufacturers’ order books filling up, a significant rebound in the economy was expected this year. 

But the war “is dampening the economy through significantly higher commodity prices, sanctions, increasing supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products as well as increased economic uncertainty”, Wollmershäuser said.

Because of the current uncertainly, the Ifo Institute calculated two separate forecasts for the upcoming year.

In the optimistic scenario, the price of oil falls gradually from the current €101 per barrel to €82 by the end of the year, and the price of natural gas falls in parallel.

In the pessimistic scenario, the oil price rises to €140 per barrel by May and only then falls to €122 by the end of the year.

Energy costs have a particularly strong impact on private consumer spending.

They could rise between 3.7 and 5 percent, depending on the developments in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and the German government’s ability to source its energy. 

On Wednesday, German media reported that the government was in the process of thrashing out an additional set of measures designed to support consumers with their rising energy costs.

The hotly debated measures are expected to be finalised on Wednesday evening and could include increased subsidies, a mobility allowance, a fuel rebate and a child bonus for families. 

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s proposals for future energy price relief

In one piece of positive news, the number of unemployed people in Germany should fall to below 2.3 million, according to the Ifo Institute.

However, short-time work, known as Kurzarbeit in German, is likely to increase significantly in the pessimistic scenario.

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