Wereldtoerismedag: ‘The resilience of the tourism is great’

Tourism Flanders has developed remarkably quickly restored. After the onheilsberichten in the months after the attacks of march 22, 2016, blowing a positive breeze to the sector. That writes Piet Boncquet in This Week.

© iStockphoto

The figures of the first half of this year indicate a clearly positive trend. The travelers find again the road to Flanders. “Tourism is a resilient sector,” says Stef Gits from Tourism Flanders.

In August picked up Tourism Flanders is already out with striking figures, though still provisional: the first four months of this year, the sector noticeably better than in the same period of 2016. Many replied, relieved. Because of the attacks of march 22 last year had a big impact on tourism in Flanders.

The number of overnight stays fell by 5.6 percent. Especially Americans (minus 25 percent) and the Japanese (minus 45 percent) and catered. Also the British had Flanders on the left, which, for example, clearly feel was in the Westhoek region, where there are still plenty of commemorations of one hundred years of the First world War took place.

The Brussels-capital Region received an enormous blow, with a fifth less nights. In the first quarter of 2016 members of the hospitality industry and retail trade a decline in sales of 122.5 million euros. Especially for the hotels were the hard times. Also Bruges groaned beneath the falling number of visitors. In 2016, there were 16.5 percent fewer than in 2015.

The number of tourists stay reduced even by 20.5 percent, as appeared at a press conference with mayor Renaat Landuyt (sp.a). It was mainly the British who massively let down, which also had to do with the weak pound. Gent had slightly less affected by the reduced tourism.

© iStockphoto

The Russians are coming

At the end of last year showed the first signs of recovery, initially still modest. That positive trend continued to be fully in the first months of 2017. “We have the figures up to and including may within a and confirm the change,” says Stef Gits, spokesperson at Tourism Flanders. “During the first five months of this year, Flanders has 8.6 percent more tourists received. International arrivals increased by 12.3 percent, the domestic with 4.3 percent.” Figures that in some months even better than in the record year of 2015. The recovery is fairly spectacular.

Thanks to a strong ruble and a rebound of the local economy, as much as 42 percent more Russian tourists the way to Flanders. Furthermore, there was a striking increase in the Spaniards (plus 29 percent) and Irish (plus 20 percent). And in april, again for the first time the number of British overnight stays (plus 17 percent).

“Final figures are not in yet, but from what I hear in the industry I dare not hesitate to conclude that also our cities (Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen and Leuven, ed.) there again, on top of his. The province of West-Flanders, for example, realized during the first five months of this year, an increase of 4.4 percent. The nights do well with an increase of 6.9 percent. And that is for the cities of art, excellent news. Also in the other Flemish provinces continues that positive trend”, emphasises Gits.

“Tourism in Brussels”, declared Thierry Meeus, ceo of Mini-Europe, in July. “Especially the foreign guests, have once again found us”, he confirmed. Among them also a lot of tourists from the Middle East.

People forget quickly

All in all, the sector has quickly repacked. “Tourism is par excellence a resilient sector. When something negative happens, you will notice that immediately in the numbers, but after a few months, the pendulum again the right side out. People forget now, once, quickly. We also have our promotional efforts to continue, but it is always difficult to there conclusions on it,” explains Gits.

He also pointed out that the domestic market has improved at a faster rate than the foreign. “When the foreign tourists were the first out of the neighbours back. They are the most familiar with Flanders. Of the other countries, it took a little longer, but also here draw the figures again.

So we recorded during the first five months of this year, 21 percent more overnight stays by American visitors, and 19 percent more by Japanese.”

What is the most popular ‘art city’?

According to a report by Tourism Flanders, books travelers into the cities every year, most nights in Brussels (6.4 million), followed by Bruges (2 million), Antwerp (1.9 million), Ghent (1 million), Leuven (0.5 million) and Mechelen (0.2 million). It comes to figures of 2015. Last year may have been a tourist disappointment, the proportions are not changed. The average length of stay was 1.9 days. The occupation is fairly stable in the course of the year – in contrast to the coastal tourism, for example – with the period from april to October as the peak months.

How well do you know the world ‘Flanders’?

From a ‘reputatieonderzoek’ of Tourism Flanders shows that Flanders, especially in the neighbouring countries are good scores, with the Netherlands on the head. Tourism Flanders showed the survey this year to run in eleven European countries and the US and Japan, at 13.000 adults who recently overseas trip had made.

Generally, it is clear that 72 per cent of them are Flanders knows. In Japan has 33 per cent of the respondents in Flanders, in the US, does the name at 40 percent ring a bell. Also the cities are doing well: 90 percent of kent Brussels, 76 percent of Bruges and 74 percent of Antwerp. Also at the cities visited are Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent to the summit.

Striking in the research is that foreign tourists are very positive about their stay in Flanders: more than 95 percent are satisfied to extremely satisfied. Especially the good service in the hospitality industry scores well.

Piet Boncquet in This Week

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