Owners of large holiday homes in Wallonia urge authorities not to forget them
Saturday, 29 May 2021
Photo from Gîtes de Wallonie
For the past 16 months, large capacity gîtes – or holiday homes in the countryside – have been unable to accommodate large groups of vacationers.
The associations for gîtes have described this period as “16 long months of dearth” in a statement that calls on authorities to not forget them in mind amid debates about the relaxation of coronavirus measures.
Their main concern is the limited social bubble, which prevents large groups from meeting and effectively paralyses their industry.
Organisations Accueil Champêtre en Wallonie and Gîtes de Wallonie denounced the fact that the social bubble remains limited to four people (in addition to the household), whereas “from July onwards, events will be able to accommodate up to 2,000 people indoors and weddings will also be able to have up to 100 guests.”
Recognised groups (clubs, youth movements, etc.) will be able to arrange stays for up to 100 people, and the associations point out that the protocol established for them could also be applied by private groups.
They hope that the next Consultative Committee meeting, scheduled for Friday 4 June, will bring good news.
“In addition to the need to resume reception activities, it is also a question of not missing out on the summer months – the most profitable ones – to reduce the financial haemorrhage among service providers who have suffered [in] 2020 considered,” they said.
The two organisations are worried because “when reading the summer plan, the large capacity tourist accommodations seem to be the great forgotten ones of the tourist sector. There are no prospects on the horizon.”
They fear that without rapid measures, Belgian tourists will flee to other countries with less strict rules.
They also say that “the failure to resume activities will have an enormous economic and social impact on the [gîtes] sector but will inevitably percolate through to all the downstream sectors of activity: tourist attractions, hotels and restaurants, etc.”