The canals or Reien of Bruges before corona measures were introduced

European holidaymakers believe Flanders is safer than Italy, Spain and France

Despite the coronavirus pandemic Belgium remains an attractive and safe destination European holidaymakers feel. Fears that our generous reporting of corona deaths would impact on Europeans’ plans to visit have proved to be unfounded.

The Flemish tourist board Toerisme Vlaanderen quizzed Dutch, German, French, Swiss, Austrian, Italian and Spanish nationals about their holiday plans.  Over half have changed their plans for the summer as a result of the pandemic.

Flemish tourism minister Zuhal Demir (nationalist): “There was a concern in the tourist sector that we would be seen as a high risk country as a result of the reporting of corona figures”.

However, this isn’t borne out in the survey.  Italy, Spain and France are judged to be less safe than Belgium. Belgium is seen as as safe as the Netherlands.

Tourism minister Demir: “Belgium reports its corona figures the way it does.  The tourism agency thought it was important to provide the necessary context.  We mustn’t lie about our high death figures during the crisis, but we aren’t the world’s hellhole.  This is the message that we continue to bring abroad and successfully it appears.”

As many Europeans are preferring to holiday in their own or a neighbouring country, Minister Demir intends to target neighbouring countries like the Netherlands and Germany, but also Wallonia with tailor-made campaigns.

The survey revealed that most holidaymakers wish to head for rural and green environments.  Zuhal Demir: “We’ve noticed an upsurge in bookings in green regions.  Bookings for our art cities aren’t yet what they should be.  Targeted campaigns in the Netherlands and Germany will put the art cities back on the map.”

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