Staycations still popular as many Belgians opt for holidays near home

Staycations still popular as many Belgians opt for holidays near home
Path to the beach. Credit: Unsplash

The summer holidays are fast approaching and airports across Europe are gearing up for a busy summer after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet many in Belgium are opting for holidaymaking within the country's borders due to the uncertainties surrounding travel, reported Het Nieuwsblad.

High fuel prices, airport chaos and possible Covid-19 measures abroad have led to another surge in booking holiday homes in Belgium. These issues have led almost half of the 1,000 respondents who took part in a survey by non-profit organisation Loggings in Flanders to spend their vacations close to home.

"No less than 81% think that they can have just as good a holiday feeling in their own country, and for half of them a holiday near home is also less stressful," said Igor Philtjens of the Tourism Committee of the Association of Flemish Provinces.

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Six in ten Flemish holiday homes are already fully booked for the summer, according to figures from Loggings in


In the Ardennes, in Wallonia, the popularity of holiday homes is even more evident: on the website, 1,400 places have already been booked – a 45% increase in bookings compared to 2018, and even slightly more than in 2021.

Just across the border

Center Parks, which runs holiday parks in Belgium as well as France, Germany and the Netherlands, confirms that many Belgians are not looking to go on vacation far from home.

"In our Belgian parks, we are already seeing 10% more Belgian bookings compared to 2019," said Marthijn Tabak of Center Parks. "And when they go to foreign parks, we see that especially our parks not far across the French and Dutch border are in demand. People have started to like holidays close by again in recent years. Of course, there is also the fuel factor, and the issue of uncertain air traffic."

The cost of fuel is an issue for many, as last weekend set a record of €2.16 for a litre of petrol, meaning fuel costs for a flight to Spain or Italy could add up: trips by car to the south of France could also be €60 more expensive.

Additionally, Brussels Airlines cancelled 148 flights this summer and other European airlines are limiting their trips due to staff shortages. Chaos at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, due to a huge shortage of people in security, baggage handling and cleaning, has caused numerous disruptions and delays.

One star more

The uncertainty also has an impact on the booking behaviour of Belgians who choose to travel abroad, according to the Association of Belgian Tour Operators (ABTO) and the Association of Flemish Travel Agents (VVR).

"We see that people are waiting a long time [to book], even until Thursday or Friday, to go abroad on a weekend. Indeed, we are not yet at the 2019 levels of travel, rather at about 85% of it," said VVR director Koen van den Bosch.

"But there are still many Belgians who do not want to save on their holiday budget after two Covid-19 years," said

Pierre Fivet of ABTO. "For them, we see that a hotel abroad can have one star more, or that they want to stay a little longer at the destination."

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