Radio 2

Situation in Brussels’ hotels is pretty dire

“A dreadful summer”, that is the only way the last months can be described for hoteliers in the Belgian and Flemish capital.  “Unprecedented and extremely serious” are the terms employed to describe the situation.

Industry federation Horeca Brussels says the situation in Brussels hotels during the past months has been pretty tragic.  Forecasts for the autumn are little better.

The crisis in the Brussels hotel sector is unprecedented.  Average occupancy levels are around 10%.  This compares with a usual figure of 60% this time of year.

The Sofitel chain operates two hotels in the capital.  One hotel, located on the Jourdanplein, opened on 15 June following the lockdown.  Marketing manager Carine Suenens: “We used to get loads of guests from the Tomorrowland music festival in the summer.  The festival was cancelled.  There was a stay away by tourists.  There have been hardly any European gatherings.  Even airline crews cancelled their strays.”

“Bookings for September are few and far between.  It’s difficult for people to plan trips because cities and regions switch colour code all the time due to corona.  Businesses are getting fewer people to travel.  Meetings and seminars are cancelled.  The prospects are not good.”

“Fortunately staff were able to sign on for temporarily unemployment benefit.  Some staff are unemployed and at home.  Others are working according to adapted rosters.  Our service is more limited.  We try to deploy staff in a more flexible way.”

“We’re assuming the crisis will last until New Year’s.  We hope the situation then improves.”

Sofitel intends to open its hotel on the Gulden Vlieslaan in Brussels on 31 August.

Radio 2

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