Foreign tourists gradually find their way back to Flanders

Foreign tourists gradually find their way back to Flanders
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For the Easter holidays (2-18 April), Tourism Flanders expects 40% overnight stays by travellers and 60% overnight stays by Belgian visitors.

This number of foreign overnights is still 16% lower than in the Easter holidays of the 2019 pre-coronavirus period, but the gap is getting smaller. Domestic overnight stays are doing 20% better than in 2019.

"We are gradually moving towards a normal ratio of domestic and foreign overnight stays again, and that is something that many of our tourism entrepreneurs were waiting for," Flemish Tourism Minister Zuhal Demir said in a press release.

"Certainly for our art cities, which depend to a large extent on our foreign guests, this is hopeful news," she added.

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Based on booking data in hotels and B&Bs, Tourism Flanders has estimated the number of overnight stays in these types of accommodation for the Easter holidays. Now that the impact of Covid-19 is barely present in daily life, tourism seemingly continues to recover.

The total number of overnight stays in Flanders during the Easter holidays is expected to be 3% lower than in 2019. Additionally, while domestic overnights do 20% better, the foreign ones are still 16% lower than in 2019.

However, compared to this year's Carnival holiday (28 February to 6 March), the domestic-foreign balance is clearly recovering, Demir said. Back then, there were 40% more domestic overnights than in 2019, and 25% fewer foreign ones.

Belgian coast

The usual foreign/domestic ratio sits at 55%/45%, but Tourism Flanders is still expecting 40% of visitors from abroad and 60% from Belgium in the coming two weeks.

The Belgian coast remains the stronghold, with 10% more overnights than during the Easter holidays 2019. In the art cities and the rest of Flanders, 9% fewer overnight stays than during the Easter holidays 2019 are expected. In each of the three sub-destinations, the increase in domestic overnights is about 20%.

In terms of foreign overnight stays, the loss compared to 2019 is -11% for the coast, -13% for the art cities and -27% for the rest of Flanders. The more limited decline in foreign overnight stays on the coast is mainly due to the fact that traditionally fewer foreign tourists stay there.

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