Despite the upturn in activity, tourism in Brussels will not fully resume for several months

There are signs of slight improvement, with the figures recorded during the summer, but the rest will depend on the resumption of normal working conditions, on which business tourism strongly depends, a presentation Mr. Bontinck. One big concern remains: restoring the supply of air and rail transport. For intercontinental flights, the recovery at a pace comparable to that which prevailed before the pandemic does not seem expected before 2023 or 2024.

The month of August saw a small upturn in tourist activities in the Belgian capital.

The occupancy rate of Brussels hotels was 33% (22% in August 2020), which is another 40 percentage points lower than during the same month of 2019. While still very low, this rate shows a modest increase compared to last July (23%; 56 points in July 2019)

With an occupancy rate of 44.4%, the number of stays in Airbnb rentals jumped 55% last August compared to August 2020, but remains 41% below the 2019 figure. According to Patrick Bontinck, this recovery This is explained by the presence in Brussels, in particular, of a young audience apparently marked by the concerts offered by the Arena 5 at the Heysel.

While remaining half weaker than in 2019, museum and attraction attendance jumped 97% compared to last year, to 250,500 visitors.

The French still love Belgium as much

An observation of mobile data shows that the majority of tourists were nationals, but that while being less numerous, foreign visitors, mostly French, were 40% more numerous than in August 2020.

For the first two weeks of September, the hotel occupancy rate is approaching 40%, 22 percentage points higher than the same period last year, but still 37 points lower than in 2019.

A rather encouraging sign: interest in Brussels on Google continues to grow. On September 19, we observed the highest rate of search indexes in months, and an increase in searches for flights to the Belgian capital.

According to Patrick Bontinck, if we analyze the situation at European level, it is especially the smaller countries that have lived the most. Brussels is 40 percentage points lower than in 2019, as are Vienna and Geneva. Amsterdam recorded a drop of 50 points.

Beside these, Lyon, Milan and Madrid do much better as urban centers of larger countries, being 20 percentage points lower. It is the mass effect of local tourism that makes the difference.

The continuation of support measures for the hotel sector during the coming months is vital to prevent long-lasting establishment closures the tourist offer and the economic vitality it generates, underlined the head of the tourist office. from Brussels.

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