Flemish tourism fair seeks to re-ignite international tourism

At a tourism fair in the West Flemish city of Bruges on Tuesday, the Flemish tourism sector is trying to sell itself to dozens of international buyers. Organiser Tourism Flanders hopes foreign tourists will (re)discover Flanders after the Covid crisis.

The pandemic dealt a severe blow to the tourism sector. Now that tourism is reviving, Flanders is trying to get itself included in the offer of foreign tour operators. The "Flanders Travel Forum" fair aims to help in this regard. The event takes place on Tuesday for the first time since 2016.

In the new exhibition building BMCC in Bruges, Tourism Flanders will link 135 international buyers from different countries with some 75 Flemish providers. These include tourism services from various Flemish cities, as well as hotels, attractions and excursions.

"We think it will take until 2024-2025 before we are back to 2019 levels in terms of tourism from abroad"

"We are trying to put our assets on display now that there is a relaunch", says Tourism Flanders spokesman Stef Gits. Flanders is targetting tourists in five areas: cycling tourism, heritage, culinary experiences, war tourism and nature.

Despite the relaunch, there is still a way to go, says Gits. Asian tourists, for instance, are still staying away. "We think it will take until 2024-2025 before we are back to 2019 levels in terms of tourism from abroad", the spokesman said. "Efforts are needed now to show ourselves to the world and keep our destinations 'top of mind'."





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