Flemish tourism rebounds after terrorism scare

After some foreign tourists changed their plans to visit Flanders and Belgium because of the March attacks Flemish tourism minister Ben Weyts now speaks of a recovery of visitor numbers that started as early as June.

Tourism in Flanders was booming. In January, February and March visitor numbers were all up. The March attacks dealt of a horrific blow to the sector with a fifth of all tourists avoiding Flanders in April, the month after the attacks. Occupancy numbers in Flemish hotels dropped to 60%.

For the period as a whole the number of overnight stays by visitors fell by 8% during the first six months of 2016. The March attacks by Islamic extremists targeting the Brussels metro and Brussels Airport are blamed for the drop that was mainly caused by no-shows by foreign visitors.

By June visitor numbers had already improved and were only 17% down on the previous year. Hotel occupancy figures had risen to 64%.