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Hustle and bustle at the Belgian coast, also in Blankenberge (VIDEO)

The hospitality industry at the Belgian coast is doing brisk business these days. The present weekend (including today's bank holiday) was almost fully booked, and the beach was exceptionally busy. There were 880,000 overnight stays, and almost 30 percent of the tourists came from abroad. 

Footage taken at Blankenberge yesterday shows the big crowds. Blankenberge welcomed some 30,000 people yesterday, while the beach was smaller than usual due the spring tide in the afternoon. 

Lifeguards were in for (another) busy day. Tom Cocle, who is at the helm of the local team, says "it has been an exhausting season. We have had good weather since early May, and it never stops. We are doing everything we can to keep the focus." No major incidents were reported. 

Visitors flocked to the beach to make the most of the cooler temperatures at the coast and to take a dip in the sea on the 6th day of the heatwave. 

The bumper weekend saw 880,000 overnight stays 

The bumper weekend in figures

The long weekend of 15 August saw average occupancy rates of more than 95 percent in the local hotels. The past weekend had 310,000 overnight bookings on Saturday night, a record-high for this year. The total number of overnight stays at the Flemish coast has been calculated at 880,000, the number of day-trippers at 400,000.  

Apart from hotels, campings and holiday parks also did brisk business. 30 percent of the visitors was from abroad, with the Netherlands, Germany, France and Luxemburg topping the list. This season has been exceptional for the local tourism industry, confirms Sabien Lahaye-Battheu of the West-Flemish tourist board, but final results are only expected at a later stage.

Taste the atmosphere in Blankenberge in this VIDEO:

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