Belgium’s hospitality sector projected to lose 1.7 billion euros
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    Belgium’s hospitality sector projected to lose 1.7 billion euros

    Estimates point to losses eight times higher than after the 2016 terrorist attacks in Brussels. Credit: Belga

    Belgium’s hospitality industry stands to lose about 1.7 billion euros now that the Coronavirus lockdown is certain to continue through Easter, says Horeca Vlaanderen, the federation representing the industry in Flanders.

    This is much higher than the losses recorded after the 2015 terror attacks in Paris and the March 2016 attacks in Brussels.

    The closure of non-essential businesses for the Easter Holidays, usually a busy time for bars, cafes and restaurants, is a heavy blow, Horeca Vlaanderen President Matthias De Caluwe said.

    “It means losses will double in the next three weeks,” De Caluwe added. “Tourism is at a standstill and that will have an unprecedented effect on the sector. We estimate that losses will be eight times higher than in 2016, the year of the attacks.”

    Mr. De Caluwe realises, however, that health goes before all else. “That’s indisputable,” he said, “but we are waiting for goodwill gestures to enable the sector to weather this storm.”

    The federation urged landlords last week to defer or scrap rent payments during the crisis. Many have agreed to do so, including Belgium’s breweries.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times