Tourism in Belgium Recovering Post-Pandemic As Increased Border Crossings Are Recorded

Belgian nationals are crossing the border more often now compared to the pandemic times, indicating progress in the tourism sector.

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According to a report from Tourism Flanders, the sector is recovering, although there are some changed patterns in travelling and tourism found among Belgians, reports.

The pandemic caused many Belgians to travel and spend their holidays within their home country, which became common practice for all Europeans.

“I have seen from the front row how difficult our tourist entrepreneurs have had it during COVID-19, but I am especially proud that, despite everything, they never gave up, and now again receive plenty of visitors from home and abroad to enjoy all the assets that make Flanders such a unique tourist destination,” Peter De Wilde, CEO of Tourism Flanders noted.

During the pandemic, the number of last-minute booked trips increased significantly, with those usually happening up to around two weeks before departure. This average was a month in advance back in 2022, while the booking periods are once again reaching 2019 levels.

In addition, the report reveals that travelling by car became popular during the COVID-19 crisis, but this is no longer common as of the summer of 2021 when travelling by plane has regained its popularity.

The cleanliness and atmosphere in accommodations and attractions have become a key factor for tourists since the pandemic occurred, while the report also points out that getting sick while travelling has gained severe importance and is a concern that persists to this day. In addition, increased attention is paid to striking, as well as booking and cancellation conditions.

According to data from StatBel, the number of overnight stays for May reached 3.8 million, with the most nights recorded being spent at hotels (46 per cent), holiday homes and apartments (17 per cent), and holiday centres and holiday villages (11 per cent).

Furthermore, the number of overnight stays in May surpassed those of the same period in 2021 by 107 per cent and those from May 2020 by 5132 per cent, when only 73,168 overnight stays were recorded. In addition, the number of nights spent in May of 2022 has exceeded those of pre-pandemic levels by eight per cent, indicating positive results for this period.

As per regions, Flemish Region recorded 2.4 million overnight stays, followed by the Walloon Region with 831,121 overnight stays and Brussels-Capital Region where tourists spent 581,025 nights – up by 405 per cent and 6506 per cent compared to May 2021 and 2020, respectively.