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Brussels’ Winter Wonders drew more than four million visitors to its 2023 edition

Winter Wonders 2023 City of Brussels
17:28 10/01/2024

The city of Brussels is celebrating a successful 23rd edition of its annual end-of-year festivities after recording just over 4 million visitors, it announced.

Winter Wonders made the capital "shine both in Belgium and abroad," said city officials in presenting its report on visitor figures.

The extensive entertainment programme included a Christmas market, ice rink (drawing more than 50,000 skaters), light shows and a special programme by guest region, the 11 Indigenous Nations of Quebec.

Of the total number of 4,003,693 people who enjoyed the festivities, nearly 75% of them were Belgian, including more than half from Brussels.

The remaining quarter came from Europe, notably France, Spain and Netherlands, in addition to further-flung countries such as the US, Brazil and India.

This growing influx of tourists helped the event record an increase of 500,000 people compared to last year, according to city mayor Philippe Close.

Activities in Places de la Monnaie and De Brouckère as well as the Grand Place were extended until January 7 so that families could make the most of the last week of the school holidays.

“The economic benefits generated by Winter Wonders are of capital importance for our businesses, particularly for the hotel sector, which provides many jobs,” pointed out Close.

The hotel sector achieved an occupancy rate of 79% in the Brussels region, which represented an increase of 7% compared to 2022.

One of the new additions to the 2023 edition was an increased sustainability drive. The city increased "both human and financial efforts to guarantee the implementation of numerous measures," providing more than 600,000 cups and some 60,000 reusable plates to traders, it said.

Surplus food enabled some 1,600 meals to be distributed, and 150,000 litres of water were economised thanks to dry toilets.

Photo: ©Winter Wonders 2023/City of Brussels

Written by The Bulletin