Bruges attracts an increasing number of cruise tourists, which worries Ann Soete, leading figure of Open Vid in the Northern Venice. She requests Wednesday that the City establish a plan of action, considering the last figures on cruise tourism that she obtained from the Flemish Minister for Tourism, Ben Weyts (N-VA).
The number of cruise vessels has more than tripled in Bruges in ten years, the tourists being now close to 400,000, a figure that multiplied by seven during this period. Last year, tourists came mainly from Germany (170,709), the UK (129,674) and the USA (35,323).
Ann Soete warns against an overflow, for even though tourism is a “windfall for any city, mass tourism represents a challenge. It can cause problems and nuisances, as well as threaten a city’s quality of living,’’ underlines she who is also a Flemish deputy.
Cruise ships do not stay in the harbor more than one day. The tourists do not reside in and come to Bruges mainly for beer and chocolate. “These one-day tourists only have a relatively limited impact on our local economy, all while representing a huge challenge for the quality of living.”
The deputy requests a plan of action. Mayor Renaat Landuyt (SP.A) says he’s aware of the phenomenon and is not in favor of an increase of cruise tourists.