Hotel bookings soar thanks to Catalan protest

Hotels in Brussel and in numerous Flemish towns and cities outside the capital are fully booked on Wednesday evening as thousands of Catalans are expected at a demonstration on Thursday. Bed and Bed too report bookings up of what they would normally expect this time of year.

Around 20,000 Catalans are expected at the demonstration that is being organised by two pro-independence groups. Given the distance between Brussels and Catalonia most of those taking part will need somewhere to sleep on Wednesday night.

Rodolphe van Weyenberghe of the Brussels Hotels Association told VRT News that "There are around 18,000 hotel rooms in Brussels and everything is as good as fully-booked on Wednesday evening. And yes, there has been an influx of bookings from Spain and Catalonia”.

"I don’t have any precise figures, but let’s just say that there is a clear trend”.

Outside Brussels too hotels have seen an increase in bookings. Kurt Neyrinck of Gent-Hotels told VRT News that: "Hotels in Ghent are always pretty much fully booked, but I have noticed that there are now more bookings than we are used to from Catalonia. It is not that they are coming here en masse, but there are clearly more than there are usually."

Hotels in Mechelen (Antwerp province), Leuven (Flemish Brabant) and Aalst also say that Thursday’s demonstration has seen reservations soar.

However, according to Els da Silva of the Antwerp Hotel Association this is not the case in Antwerp.

"I have asked around at our hotels, but I can’t confirm that booking are up. We have heard that Catalans are staying with families in the Antwerp area”, Ms da Silva said.

Meanwhile, bed and breakfasts in towns and even in rural municipalities report an increase in interest from Catalans.

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