Flanders tourism booming, Wallonia stagnates
16 August 2005
BRUSSELS — While tourism is suffering across the language border in Wallonia, the tourist industry in Flanders is doing better than ever.
The number of tourists in Brussels, Antwerp, Brugge, Ghent and Hasselt are increasing year after year.
With some 2.5 million tourists every year, Brussels tops the list, followed by Antwerp, Brugge and Ghent.
But also Hasselt is recording a rising number of tourists, newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ reported on Sunday.
“There was constant growth in the past 10 years,” the chief of Tourism Flanders, Wim Vanseveren, said.
Three out of every four foreigners who visit Flanders say they are pleasantly surprised, with the biggest plus being the region’s diversity.
Some 27 percent of visitors enjoy the mix of architecture, history and art, while 16.5 percent visit Flanders for its friendliness and multilingualism. Some 9 percent are enticed gastronomically.
The high number of Spanish tourists visiting the region is noteworthy.
Meanwhile, Wallonian holiday villages are experiencing a poor summer, with traffic works on the E411 and E25 and the bad weather leading to a 10 percent decline in the number of visitors.
Some cafés, restaurants or hotels will report a 50 percent decline in turnover this year, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported.
The deserted camping grounds, half-empty hotels and terraces are a sign the tourist sites in the Belgian Ardennes face hard times.
The region has never been so hard hit, De Standaard reported, adding that Dutch camping tourists are primarily opting to holiday elsewhere.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news