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One-third fewer visitors for Winter Wonders

14:11 03/01/2016

The 15th edition of Winter Wonders, the year-end event in the centre of Brussels, drew about 30% fewer visitors than last year, writes Knack. The decrease is mainly due to the number of foreign tourists who avoided the capital this year due to the raised terror alert level, says tourism alderman Philippe Close, who nevertheless had only positive things to say about this year's edition.

“Apparently some people from abroad got the idea that Brussels was dangerous, but Winter Wonders proved just the opposite," he said. "We were happy that we were able to open at all, but we got off to a slow start, especially the first weekend because the market had to close at 20.00 instead of the usual 23.00. Eventually visitors found their way to Winter Wonders, although we never made up for the loss of that first weekend."

Winter Wonders drew nearly 30% fewer visitors compared to the previous year, but "that is still about a million people," adds Close. "We're back to the same numbers we saw four years ago.”

Likewise, the occupancy rate in Brussels hotels over this holiday season was 55%, versus 73% in the same period last year. The decrease was especially noticeable when the terror threat level reached 4, the highest level. As soon as it dropped back down to 3, however, the hotels had more bookings.

The 16th edition of Winter Wonders will take place from 25 November, 2016, through 1 January, 2017.

Written by Robyn Boyle