Half a million tourists visit Great War battlefields

The West Flemish Tourist Board Westtoer reports that the Westhoek area of West Flanders that houses our region’s the First World War battlefields welcomed half a million remembrance tourists during 2015. Westtoer’s Franky De Block told journalists that “All our expectations have been met”.

In 2014 the Westhoek welcomed 800.000. Interest The Great War was less in 2015 than it had been in the centenary year 2014.

The percentage of remembrance tourists that had come from abroad was up by 13%. There was also an increase in the percentage of those visiting the Westhoek on group excursions.

"Flemish schools especially are showing more interest than they previously did for our area’s World War I heritage. The challenge in the future will be to continue to stimulate this interest and to make it enduring”, Mr De Block added.

Flemings and Brits

During 2015, the domestic market remained largely (95%) Flemish. Foreign visitors accounted for 56% of tourists in the Westhoek.
Many of the foreign tourists came from the UK.

However, some came from countries further afield such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.