Coronavirus: Belgium remains a popular tourism destination for 2020
Thursday, 02 July 2020
Despite negative headlines across the world for how it handled the coronavirus crisis, Belgium is expected to be flooded with tourists once again this summer, according to new research.
In a survey of the travel plans of Dutch, Germans, French, Swiss, Austrians, Italians and Spaniards conducted by Visit Flanders, Belgium was considered an attractive and safe destination.
“The fear of the tourism sector was that we would be seen as a ‘high risk country’ because of the corona reporting”, said Minister Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir, who is also responsible for tourism.
According to feedback, a vast majority of travellers have adjusted their original plans for the summer, with fear of infection high among other reasons.
Countries like Italy, Spain and also France are seen as less safe, while Belgium is rated at the same level as the Netherlands.
“Our way of reporting is what it is,” Demir said. “But from Tourism Flanders we thought it was important to interpret it well to the outside world. We have had high mortality rates during this crisis, we should not lie about that. But we are not the hellhole of the world. And we have continued to communicate that message abroad. With success as it turns out,” she added.
As for location, however, the survey shows a preference for green space over cities. “We see that the number of bookings in green regions is rising again, but in our art cities the occupation is not yet what it should be. We are going to have to put them back on the map with targeted marketing campaigns in the Netherlands and Germany, among others,” says Demir.
This information comes amid an ongoing debate over how Belgium’s summer will look.
Brussels Airlines is currently revaluating it’s summer model after it was forced to rebook tens of thousands of flights that had suddenly been cancelled or postponed as a result of the changing travel regulations.
Experts from the relevant government services are now looking at how the Belgian borders can be “prudently” reopened for travellers from these countries, and how Belgians, in turn, can go there. The preparations would take another week, according to Goffin.