Following a slow start during the first week of the Easter holidays, the mild spring weather during the second week, as well as the extended Easter weekend, drove an increase in the number of overnight stays on the Belgian coast.
There were some 2.5 million overnight stays on the Belgian coast, similar levels compared to the Easter holidays in 2021, according to touristic information centre Westtoer's estimate. Of these, many were last-minute bookings due to the improved weather.
"For many Belgians, the Coast remains a favourite destination during the Easter holidays," Sabien Lahaye-Battheu, representative and chair of Westtoer, said.
"The 'normal' Easter holidays, with the better weather, ensured a pleasant holiday atmosphere at sea. More than ever, day-trippers and holidaymakers appreciate the classic and contemporary assets of the Coast."
Following the pandemic-stricken year of 2020, last year was a record year for the region's tourist sector. This year, it was expected to be "difficult or impossible to equal" the number of visitors to the region.
- Despite uncertainties, over 75% of Europeans are planning a holiday this summer
- Train services to coast limited for spring weekends
- Foreign tourists gradually find their way back to Flanders
During the first week of the holidays this year, the occupancy rate was between 70 and 80%. This increased during the second week to an occupancy rate between 85 and 95% as a result of many people booking a last-minute stay at the coast. This level was comparable to that seen during the Easter weekend in 2019.
The Belgian coast is increasingly becoming a destination for the four seasons, with two-thirds of tourist turnover now being generated outside the summer season.
Aside from secondary residence tourists, the seaside is also very popular among Germans, Dutch and French people, as well as French-speaking Belgians.