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    Brussels expects up to €60 million from hosting Grand Depart

    Brussels could earn an estimated €60 million from hosting the Tour de France's kick-off events. Credit: © Eric Danhier/visit.brussels

    The Belgian capital is expecting the windfall from this weekend’s Grand Départ to be plentiful, after reports on Wednesday said estimates from hosting the launching events of the 2019 Tour de France were expected to reach the €60 million mark.

    The Tour’s 176 cyclists, hundreds of volunteers and personnel settled into their accommodations in the city at the start of the week. And around 2,000 journalists are expected to arrive as the weekend’s kick-off race approaches.

    Taking this into account, tourism office visit.Brussels said it was expecting up to 4,500 people in total would attend the different events of the five-day inauguration, estimating the number of nights booked at hotels and other accommodation facilities at 20,000.

    But Didier Arino of French consultancy firm ProTourisme said the actual number of visitors was hard to estimate. “It all depends on the degree to which public authorities will succeed in promoting the event,” he told Le Soir.

    Tour organiser ASO said it was expecting 1 million, while a non-profit association of tourism professionals in the city, Brussels Major Events (BME), said Brussels could expect between 500,000 and one million tourists.

    Taking into account the earnings of cities who have hosted the Grand Depart in the past, BME said the Belgian capital could expect to earn between €50 and €60 million—an amount similar to Düsseldorf’s in 2017 (€61.3 million), but much higher than Utrecht’s in 2015 (€20.6 million).

    ProTourisme’s Arino said that city’s could usually expect to get back €3 for each euro spent, adding that in some cases that figure could climb to €4 or €5, in which case, he said, the €60 million mark could well be reached.

    From security and transport to logistics and hosting fees, previous reports had estimated that the city’s Grand Départ bill could reach €11 million.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times