More foreigners booking overnight stays in Brussels

Statistics released by the tourist board shed more light on the number of overnight stays in Brussels, and on the different nationalities. There is a slight increase for British, American and Australian visitors, but the biggest increase is seen among Russians and Japanese and Arabs from the United Arab Emirates.

The figures apply to the whole of 2012. The number of overnight stays booked by foreigners accounts for 80 percent of the total number, which is almost 6 million. About 1 in 5 visitors spending the night in Brussels are Belgians, while 4 out of 5 are foreigners.

The number of Belgians staying over was 2.6 percent down, compared to a 0.8 increase for tourists and businessman from abroad. France still tops the list, and is followed by the UK, Spain, Germany and the United States.

The UK and the U.S. are the only ones boasting higher numbers in the top-5. Other countries that show a big increase are Japan (+27.6%), the United Arab Emirates (+27.5%) and the Russian Federation (+26.2%). The Australians are also doing well, with figures that go 11.2 percent up.

Business or pleasure?

When we look at the split statistics for tourism and business trips, we see a 45-55% ratio for Britain. For the U.S., 2 in 3 visitors are here for business, which results in a 36-64% ratio.

For China, the balance shows a big difference between the two. While fewer tourists are booking an overnight stay in Brussels (-0.2%), the number of business people saw a sharp increase (23.4%). Still, China has a 59-41 tourism-business ratio.

On the general list, China comes 11th with over 85,000 overnight stays last year. Australia is number 23 on the list.