Travel and tourism industry in Belgium - Statistics and Facts

Belgium's accessibility makes it a popular travel destination in Europe. With its coastline, Ardennes, artistic cities as well as the gastronomy, it offers a wide variety of attractions and cultural activities for tourists. In general, the travel and tourism industry consists of three major components: inbound, outbound, and domestic tourism.

In recent years inbound tourism numbers have grown, despite a decrease in 2016. This is confirmed by the number of inbound overnight visitors in Belgium between 2010 and 2018. Regarding the country of origin of inbound overnight visitors, most tourists were domestic with approximately 21 million overnight stays, while roughly two million nights were spent by Dutch visitors at accommodations in Belgium.

A different pattern can be seen with outbound tourism, where a constant growth in vacations abroad was detected. Between 2012 and 2018, the number of holidays abroad grew from 9.5 to 13 million. France was the most popular holiday destination for Belgian tourists, while Spain and the Netherlands received roughly 1.8 and 1.6 million Belgian holiday makers respectively. Favorite time of booking summer holidays in Belgium were the months January and February. In 2019, 20 percent of the respondents indicated to have booked their summer holidays in January, whereas 13 and 11 percent of the summer holiday bookings were done in February and March, respectively. When holidays are taken domestically, hotels were the most frequently chosen accommodation in 2018. Approximately 7.86 million domestic overnight stays in hotels were registered in Belgium, whereas roughly 4.38 million overnight stays were recorded in holiday cottages. The average summer holiday budget decreased slightly in 2019. In 2018, Belgians indicated that the budget for summer holidays amounted to nearly 2,318 euros, whereas by 2019 it had an average of 2,242 euros.

Besides attracted leisure-related tourists, Belgium's capital city attracted many business visitors as well. Brussels-Capital Region organized approximately 845 congresses and meetings. Furthermore, the total number of business overnights stays saw a growth between 2016 and 2018. In 2016, the capital region registered nearly 3.2 million nights, while in 2018 it amounted to roughly 3.74 million overnight stays.

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Travel and tourism in Belgium

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