Belgian coast prepares for large crowds with a 'busyness barometer'

Belgian coast prepares for large crowds with a 'busyness barometer'
Credit: Belga

While temperatures are relatively mild on Saturday, the mercury is expected to rise to 28°C on Sunday, meaning many people are once again expected to flock to the Belgian coast.

This weekend, accommodation at the coast is almost completely fully booked resulting in all coastal towns preparing for another busy weekend, according to the regional tourism organisation Westtoer.

Starting from Thursday evening, an estimated 90 to 95% of hotels are occupied for the next three nights, while campsites, too, are recording high occupancy rates, a trend that is expected to continue throughout next week, when temperatures are set to soar to 37°C.

Besides these overnight tourists, a lot of day-trippers are also expected, which is why national railway operator SNCB announced it will be increasing its services from the centre of the country to the coast.

Keeping beach-goers safe

Westtoer has encouraged people to use the coastal barometer, which shows how busy areas are, helping people to avoid the most crowded places along the coastline. Moving to beach zones outside the centres, where there are more bars and shops on the dykes, also usually guarantees more peace and quiet. "This way, a stay at the sea remains safe and comfortable for everyone."

This is vital this weekend, as on Saturday and Sunday, the tide will be high between 15:00 and 17:00, meaning there is a more limited part of the beach that will be available at that time.

"People who have already installed themselves on the beach close to the waterline during the day should take into account that they will have to leave their place when the tide comes in," said Westtoer.

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Meanwhile, the rescue services of the Intermunicipal Coastal Rescue Service for West Flanders (IKWV) will continue to urge visitors to follow the instructions of the lifeguards and only bathe in the guarded areas, especially as this high tide often means a strong undercurrent.

Finally, in light of the big crowds expected this weekend, Flemish Tourism Minister has once again called for children to "anti-lost wristbands," which are available free of charge from lifeguards, but also from tourist offices and public toilets.

Parents can write down their names and telephone number which makes bringing lost children back to their families easier.

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