Coronavirus pandemic and measures taken to curb the spread of the virus resulted in a significant decrease in visitor numbers on the Coast during Christmas.
Just 660,000-day tourists took to coastal beaches on Christmas Day, according to figures released on Sunday by the West Flanders Province tourism office, Westtoer. In 2019, Christmas-day tourists numbered about 840,000, which means the numbers went down by some 240,000 in 2020.
The ongoing health crisis was not the only cause for the decrease, with the gloomy weather also cited as inhibiting factor.
Overnight stays also decreased, dropping from 1.6 million in 2019 to 1.25 million in 2020. Vacation homes did relatively well, with occupation rates of 60% during the first week of the holidays and between 75% and 85% during the second. On the other hand, hotel occupation rates amounted to about 10%.
The crowd barometer for the Coast was reactivated for the holidays, but no major influx of visitors was detected.