The summer holidays are fast approaching and after two years of the coronavirus, Belgians are ready to spend on their vacations.
71% of Belgians plan to go abroad this summer, according to a Europe Assistance barometer, published on Tuesday. This represents an 18% rise on 2021 and is the highest rate for several years.
France is the preferred destination for Belgians, with 30% of holidaymakers heading here. Many others (27%) are opting for staycations due to uncertainties regarding travel. 22% choose Spain and 11% favour Italy. 9% of Belgians head up to the Netherlands. 79% of holidaymakers want to stay in Europe.
- Night trains from Brussels to French beaches and ski resorts to become reality
- Further strikes to hit Brussels Airport from 20 June
- Ryanair expects little to no disruption to Belgium flights this summer
Environmental concerns factor ever more highly when making travel plans, with 13% of Belgians stating that their carbon footprint plays a crucial role in their choice of destination. 52% say it plays an "important role".
Short holidays remain popular with 39% of Belgians. Two-week holidays are popular with 34% of the population while holidays of three weeks or more went up to 27%.
The average Belgian holiday budget for this summer has increased by 15%, rising to €2,289 compared to €1,983 in 2021. There are some regional differences, with the average budget for Dutch speakers amounting to €2,277 and €2,301 for French speakers.
Hotel bookings are also rising with 47% of Belgians electing to stay in hotels. This has seen apartment rentals fall to 29%. 18% of travellers plan to stay with friends, family or at a second home. 55% of Belgians choose to holiday by the sea and 26% go for city trips.
Travelling by car remains a popular means of transport: 48% still drive although this is down 14% on previous years. Instead, air travel is again rising in popularity, up 7% to 37%. This is still less than pre-pandemic levels.