The tourism sector in Flanders has recovered from the 2016 crisis that was caused by the terrorist threat. “The tourism sector is exceptionally resilient,” said Flemish Minister of Tourism Ben Weyts on Sunday.
Last year, Flanders counted a record number of 12.8 million tourist arrivals, an increase of 8% compared to 2016 and 2% compared to 2015, the previous record year. The number of domestic tourists increased by 3% and the number of foreign tourists by 13 %.
The number of overnight stays also increased, reaching 30.7 million (+ 6%). The overnight stays of foreign tourists increased by 11%.
Flanders attracted European tourists throughout the year and especially more Hungarians (+ 37%), Swiss (+ 16%) and Germans (+ 14%). The north of the country is also gaining popularity in more distant lands with 48% more Brazilian tourists in 2017, 34% Russians, 24% Chinese and 21% more Americans.
The occupancy rate of the Flemish hotels was on average 64% last year, 4% more than in 2016, according to the accommodation barometer of the Flemish tourism agency.
“The hardest is behind us,” said Ben Weyts. “We remain focused on our strengths: our Flemish masters, our artistic heritage, our food and beverages, and cycling – this is paying off.”