During the first half of 2018, Flanders recorded 14.2 million tourist overnight stays. That is 8 percent more compared to the same period last year. The increase is mainly due to foreign visitors.
The figures are a boost following the difficult period experienced by tourism in Flanders after the attacks in Brussels in 2016. With 1.3 million more overnight stays compared to the first 6 months of 2017, the tourism sector will likely set a new record this year. Visitors from neighbouring countries in particular accounted for the sharp rise.
For example, 12% more French and British, and 10% more German tourists, visited Flanders. But the Flemish art cities are also more and more popular with Chinese (+24%), Brazilians (+20%) and Americans (+17%).
A satisfaction survey by Toerisme Vlaanderen earlier this year revealed that Bruges comes out on top. Brussels attracts the most visitors, followed by Antwerp and Bruges. Tourists spend an average of €150 per person per night on food and accommodation. This equates to an annual turnover of €1 billion.