Tourists stranded high and dry in Bruges

A tour of the canals of Bruges.  It is one of the highlights of any visit to Flanders’ premier tourist destination.  However, the proprietor of one of the biggest companies operating tourist tours by boat in Bruges fears that it will be next year before any boats take to the waters of the canals of Bruges once again and make a profit.

Corona measures have had a big impact on the tourist trade in Bruges, capital of West Flanders.  The boats that operate on the canal tours have been tied to the jetty for many weeks.  Boat operators have a heavy heart and look to the future with some trepidation.  Even if corona measures are relaxed soon, it remains to be seen when and how tourists will be able to return to the canals and make a profit for the West Flemish boat operators.  During the season canal boats are often choc-a-bloc.  Organising canal tours in all safety too will be formidable challenge.

Boat operator Maurice Michielsens: “Maybe I’m being too pessimistic, but if you need to leave 1.5m between each and every boat tripper, then it’s no longer profitable.  Normally a boat carries 40 passengers.  Corona measures would take this down to 8 and that’s simply not worth it!”

The City of Bruges is liaising with the federal authorities to work out how boat trips can resume in a safe environment.

Jurjen Drenth

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