The 15th Winter Pleasures, the annual event held in the centre of Brussels for the end of year festivities, saw its number of visitors fall by 30% compared to last year. This is mainly due to fewer visitors from abroad, revealed Brussels Tourism Councilor Philippe Close. Despite this, he said he felt optimistic and positive at the end of the event.
“From abroad, it may seem dangerous to come to Brussels, but Winter Pleasures have once again proved that is not the case”, said the Councilor. “We had a difficult beginning. We were very happy to even open, but the first weekend was a lot less successful. This was partly because the market had to shut at 8pm instead of 11pm”.
“Over the last few years, we have seen the number of visitors progressively fall as the event goes on. This year, it was the other way round, but we couldn’t cover the losses suffered during the first weekend”, said Mr Close.
Globally, the Winter Pleasures ended this New Year with a 30% fall in visitors. “But we still got 1 million visitors”, said the Brussels Councilor. “That’s as many as three years ago. Last year, the ice rink attracted no less than 42,000 visitors compared to 33,000 this year. That’s the same as 2013”.
The occupation rate for Brussels hotels was 55% this year, compared to 73% in 2014. “The fall was especially noticeable when the threat level went up to 4. Once the threat level went back down, there were more reservations”.
The Tourism Councilor was also happy about the choice of Tunisia as the guest of honour for this year’s event. “This is the first step to giving a cultural dimension to Winter Pleasures”.
The 16th Winter Pleasures will take place from the 25th of November 2016 to the 1st of January 2017.
Andy Sanchez (Source: Belga)