Tourism Flanders has released a report on the impact of the pandemic in 2020, showing how travel behaviour within Flanders has changed.
The report looks back at and compares the numbers from 2020 to 2019, painting a bleak picture of the struggling tourism industry. However, the sector is now recovering and the travellers are back — albeit slightly different in how they do things than before.
What do we do differently?
The pandemic saw many Belgians taking their holidays within their home country, a phenomenon that was visible throughout Europe. “From this year on, we see that Belgians who love to travel are once again crossing the border more often," said Peter De Wilde, CEO of Tourism Flanders.
During the pandemic travellers often booked trips last minute, up to around two weeks before departure. Before 2020, the average was a month in advance. In 2022, however, the booking periods are once again in line with 2019.
"I have seen from the front row how difficult our tourist entrepreneurs have had it during Covid-19." Said De Wilde. "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."
- International tourists make a return to Flanders
- Two million tourists flocked to Antwerp this summer
- Overnight stays: Belgian tourism sector slowly recovering, but Brussels still lagging behind
During the Covid-19 crisis, travelling by car gained popularity as a means of transport, but since the summer of 2021 the plane has again become the most popular way to travel.
Since the pandemic, tourists have paid more attention to cleanliness and atmosphere in both their accommodation and attractions.
Lastly, according to the report, getting sick while travelling is a concern that persists to this day. “Awareness about this risk seems to be here to stay," the report states. "Also striking, is the increased attention to booking and cancellation conditions.”