International Tourist Guide Day: Tourists are back to Brussels

Today is the International Tourist Guide Day. This initiative, led by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations, honours the tourist guide profession, one of the pillars of the city’s touristic strategy. In Brussels, almost 800 guides ply the capital every day. All of them contribute greatly to showcasing the city’s cultural heritage.

International Tourist Guide Day is the occasion for to honour these ambassadors of the capital. Almost 800 of them roam the streets of the Brussels-Capital Region each day. Thanks to them, more than 150,000 visitors, tourists, Belgians and ‘Bruxellois’ explored, roamed, and discovered the city in 2017.

A bit of history…

The tourist guide profession appeared in 1958, when contemporary tourism in Brussels was born following the World Exposition. An association quickly sprang up, with the majority of guides in Brussels becoming members. A few years later, other groups of guides were created and specialised in order to offer alternative tours on topics like Art Nouveau, urbanism, architecture, history, and green spaces.

True ambassadors of the city…

Today, 57% of tourist guides are freelancers, 41% are volunteers, and 2% are employees. For 82% of them, it is a second job, with 18% classing it as their main job. All of them participate in showcasing the capital’s cultural heritage: Brussels, its history, its buildings and its great characters, like Charles V, Victor Horta, and Jacques Brel.

Passionate about the capital and the innumerable treasures it hides, guides spark the curiosity of visitors with various topics. From beer, to Brussels legends, to street art, they sift through all aspects of the Region’s history and heritage. Whether on foot or by bus, bike, segway, 2CV, horse and carriage, boat, or even tuk tuk, guides never stop diversifying, always offering unique and original tours throughout the year.

Brussels is back as a touristic destination

Last summer, in August, Brussels Airport welcomed nearly 2.5 million passengers, a rise of 7.6% compared to the same month in 2016. This is a new airport record for the month of August.

According to the Brussels Airport: “These positive figures are largely thanks to the growth that has taken place in holiday flights, the European traffic and the good performance of new long-haul flights at Brussels Airlines such as Toronto and Mumbai. Brussels Airlines and the long-haul flights grew by double digits. The return of the connection to Atlanta by Delta Air Lines, the start of RwandAir and the strong growth of Hainan Airlines, Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines also explain the growth of long-haul traffic. Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia are once again popular destinations, which is a positive factor for holiday traffic”.