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Belgian coast enjoys 'unusual but good' Christmas period as tourists return

Illustration shows sandcliffs at Belgian coast in Wenduine (BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER)
07:27 10/01/2022

With 600,000 day trippers recorded over the Christmas holiday, the tourism sector on the Belgian coast experienced an "unusual but good" end-of-year period, according to West Flanders tourism company Westtoer.

The extra week off at the start of the holidays that many were granted due to earlier school closures had little impact, Westoer said, but the sector enjoyed a late surge after the New Year with Dutch tourists contributing significantly.

However, compared to 2019, there were fewer tourists in total visiting the coast for day trips, due in particular to the bad weather. Sunday 3 January was the best day, with about 60,000 visitors.

"We recorded some 1.8 million overnight stays,” the tourism company stated. “It's better than in 2020, which was a tough year."

It was mainly French-speaking Belgians who went to the coast for the New Year, with 35% of visitors coming from Wallonia or Brussels. The Dutch also visited in significant numbers. They accounted for 7.5% of online hotel bookings the week after the New Year.

Written by Nick Amies