Two thirds of Belgians plan to travel this summer, according to a survey by Tourism Flanders.
Just 17% of respondents said they will definitely not travel, compared to 44% in the summer of 2020.
“It’s really good to see that the hunger for travel is back,” said Flemish Minister of Tourism Zuhal Demir.
Between 23 June and 7 July, Tourism Flanders surveyed 1,749 Belgians who have made at least one trip in the past three years about their travel plans for this summer and their changing travel habits.
In addition to the 17% who said they would definitely not be travelling, another 17% said they weren’t sure or had doubts about travelling.
Flanders and France are the favoured destinations for Belgians this summer, with 21% of respondents (for each location) saying it was their intended vacation spot.
There are some regional differences: 25% of people living in Flanders chose Flanders as their destination, with just 14% of them preferring France. In Wallonia, 33% chose France, 19% said they’d be travelling within Wallonia, and 17% intend to visit Flanders.
In Brussels, 25% of respondents chose France and 19% said they had plans to visit Flanders.
“It’s clear that a holiday in Flanders appeals to many compatriots,” said Demir.
“The campaign we are conducting together with the provincial tourist services, our Flemish art cities and numerous other tourist actors has clearly had an effect on domestic overnights, as has the TV programme Vlaanderen Vakantieland, which highlights our Flemish assets.”
The coronavirus crisis also has an impact on tourist travel.
Slightly more than half of Belgians consider health and safety more important than before. For 48%, relaxation is more important now than it was before Covid-19. Comfort and affordability also scored high (35%).
“The fact that relaxation and comfort are mentioned so often seems to indicate that for many people, travelling is a way of leaving behind the worries of the past year,” said Demir.
About three quarters of the Flemish people believe that both domestic and international tourism are good for Flanders.
Coronavirus has also had a positive impact on that perception: half of Flemish respondents indicate that the coronavirus health crisis has made them realise that tourism is necessary for Flanders, while only 13% disagree with this statement.