Reservations down by a fifth
Christmas bookings at restaurants and party venues is down 20% on last year
13 December 2007 - The number of Christmas bookings at restaurants and party venues in Flanders is down 20% on last year. With just eleven days to go before Christmas Eve, the hospitality industry federation Horeca Vlaanderen says it believes that its members have fallen foul of the general smoking ban that came into force at the beginning of the year.
The federation's spokesman Luc De Bauw told the VRT that "we are concerned about the effects of the smoking ban". The ban makes it illegal not only to smoke in restaurants but alsoat party venues and halls offering so-called "all in" dinner/dance facilities.
Mr De Bauw says that his members fear that this will deter many people that either smoke themselves or have smokers in their group of family and/or friends.
However, the smoking ban is not the sole reason for the fall in bookings.
The current anti-drink driving campaign that includes an increased number of roadside breath-tests during the festive season, is also serving to persuade many Flemings to enjoy their Christmas meal at home.