Coronavirus: Belgium’s high death toll will deter tourists
Tuesday, 21 April 2020
Belgium’s system of counting and communicating the number of deaths linked to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) will, in the long run, be problematic for tourism, said Flemish Minister for Tourism, Zuhal Demir.
The idea is spreading that Belgium is a high-risk country, Demir said in the Flemish Parliament on Tuesday.
Comparisons between official figures per million inhabitants place Belgium among the countries with one of the highest coronavirus-related mortality rates. This is mostly due to the method of calculation, and the decision to also include deaths in residential care centres suspected of being linked to the virus.
Demir is worried about the image the country is projecting, while the “fight to attract tourists will be crucial once the borders reopen,” she said. “I hear from the sector that we are labelled a ‘high-risk country’. It’s not good,” Demir added.
The tourism sector is currently at a standstill due to the containment measures and travel restrictions. The Flemish tourism agency is considering launching various campaigns to help the sector, focusing primarily on Belgian citizens themselves, since it is likely that only domestic tourism will be allowed in the first instance.