Tourism thriving in Brussels

13th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

13 September 2007, BRUSSELS - Despite the poor weather tourism in Brussels has been faring well during the summer months. This has emerged from figures from the Brussels Tourism Observation Centre. The occupancy rate of Brussels hotels rose by 6 percent to 65 percent in July compared to July 2006. The increase for August came to 8 percent, reaching an occupancy rate of about 67 percent.

13 September 2007

BRUSSELS - Despite the poor weather tourism in Brussels has been faring well during the summer months. This has emerged from figures from the Brussels Tourism Observation Centre. The occupancy rate of Brussels hotels rose by 6 percent to 65 percent in July compared to July 2006. The increase for August came to 8 percent, reaching an occupancy rate of about 67 percent.

The increase came despite a price increase in the first half of 2007. The average price of a hotel room (all categories) rose by EUR 20 to EUR 90. The prices peak especially during major events, like Europalia.

Brussels minister for tourism Evelyne Huytebroeck (Ecolo) believes the rising number of overnight stays is the result of an improved reputation for the capital. "Spreading a positive image of Brussels abroad remains a priority. In these times of institutional crisis it is also important that Brussels' reputation remains positive," the minister added.

The British in particular visited the capital in numbers this year. 30 percent of the overnight stays in July were by British nationals. The French accounted for 16 percent and the Americans for 9 percent.

Phillipe Close (PS), Brussels municipal alderman for tourism, says on average two thirds of the hotel rooms in the capital are occupied. This puts Brussels in third place on a ranking of European cities.

Still there is a lot of work to be done. Figures from Close indicate that Brussels is only "averagely appealing" to European tourists. To the British for instance Brussels is only 26th on a list of the most attractive European cities.

In 2006 Brussels counted some 4.6 million overnight stays in hotels, an increase of about 4 percent. Half of these were business stays, the other half tourists. The number of overnight stays in youth hostels and guest rooms also rose.

Minister Huytebroeck has also announced the "Brussels 1.51" campaign. This campaign highlights the shortened travel time between London and Brussels on the Eurostar. Starting in November the route will only take 1 hour 52 minutes. British travellers will be given welcome packages at the Zuid station and a "London party" will be set up. The Guardian will soon publish a special feature with tips for a visit to Brussels.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news

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