Despite the current cost of living crisis, it seems that the desire of many Belgians to travel abroad has not been severely impacted. In fact, the average budget for going on holiday has increased 12% since 2019, according to the latest figures by the Association of Belgian Travel Organisers (ABTO).
The average holiday budget has risen from €1,006 per person in 2019 to €1,132 per person in 2022. Even those who have not yet booked their trip still say they are willing to spend up to 18% more on their holiday now compared to pre-pandemic times.
"This data leads us to conclude that Belgians absolutely do not want to reduce their holiday budget," Leen Segers, spokesperson for tour operator Neckermann, told La Dernière Heure.
"The figures and feedback from the 40 Neckermann Travel Shops show that after two years of Covid restrictions, holidaymakers want to travel at all costs, preferably to comfortable 4-star hotels with an all-inclusive package or to luxury holiday parks and campsites with their own car."
Back to the classics
While it remains to be seen whether these trends will continue in 2023, this year seems to mark a return to normality, especially in the most popular destinations.
"Neckermann currently sees little change in the holiday behaviour of Belgians after the Covid-19 crisis. The classic and popular holiday destinations are once again being booked in large numbers: Spain, Turkey and Greece are the most popular holiday countries by air," Segers said.
For holidays by car, France is once again the undisputed favourite, followed by Italy.
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A poll in February by travel organisation TUI gave similar results, although part of the reason that people are spending more on holidays has simply to do with rising costs due to inflation.
“But not all destinations are becoming more expensive,” TUI Belgium spokesperson Piet Demeyere said then. “Destinations like Egypt or Tunisia have to regain their place in the market after two years of standstill, and they are not going to do that by raising prices.”
On the other hand, people are willing to spend more money on travel, either because they were not able to for the past two years or because they preferred to stay closer to home and travel by car. They are now more likely to opt for a more expensive destination or a hotel in a higher price range.