Strong growth for Antwerp tourism, but global economy creates uncertainty (Antwerp)

Strong growth for Antwerp tourism, but global economy creates uncertainty (Antwerp)
Strong growth for Antwerp tourism, but global economy creates uncertainty (Antwerp)

It’s almost over, that beautiful summer. Traditionally, the city also looks back on the figures of tourism in the city. Just like the weather, these were excellent, although the gap compared to pre-corona year 2019 has still not been made up. The high inflation and the global economy are also forcing ships for Tourism, Koen Kennis (N-VA) to be cautious.

But first the good news. Antwerp remains a strong attraction for day tourists. Last summer, they numbered no less than 2 million, representing an increase of 34% compared to 2021. At 76%, Belgians are well represented among day trippers. The Dutch, on the other hand, make up the largest foreign group with approximately 54% mainly Dutch. Our northern neighbors are followed by the French. They represent 8.3% of all day trippers, closely followed by the Germans (8%).

The number of overnight stays also increased by 72% compared to the difficult corona year 2021. Here too, Belgians lead the way with 60.6%, followed by the Dutch (42.9%), the French (11.1%) and the Germans (8 .9%). Including other nationalities, the Tourism Department had about 337,000 overnight stays last summer. Last July you paid an average of 104.56 euros for a hotel room in Antwerp.

What do they visit?

Of course, tourists do not only find their way overland to our Scheldt city. For example, no fewer than 187 river cruise ships with more than 26,000 passengers moored at the cruise terminal. That is even more than in pre-corona year 2019. The Scheldt therefore remains an important lifeline for Antwerp, also from a touristic point of view.

But what are all those tourists visiting in our city? Especially churches, it turns out. 108,257 tourists found their way to one of Antwerp’s numerous religious buildings. With more than 97,700 visitors, museums can’t be beaten either. Guided tours also remain very popular. Newcomer The Antwerp Storyan interactive tour in the renovated Steen, attracted 3,387 curious visitors.

KMSK

Although detailed figures per museum are lacking, according to alderman Kennis, the Rubens House remains an absolute winner among museums. “But since this attraction will be closed for renovation next year, we hope to offer a fully-fledged alternative with the KMSK (Royal Museum of Fine Arts),” says Kennis. “I have already been given a guided tour myself and can guarantee that this beautiful museum with its exceptional collection exceeds all expectations,” says Kennis. “The opening at the end of September will therefore be one of the highlights of the autumn.”

Yet it is not all roses and moonshine in our city of biscuits. With the exception of river cruises, the figures are almost all red compared to 2019. This is mainly due to Americans and Asians who are not yet allowed to travel due to corona restrictions, or who have become more careful about making long journeys. “For the time being, we are not yet investing in new campaigns to attract overseas tourists,” Kennis clarifies. “After all, it remains to be seen how the global economy will evolve in the coming months. It would be a shame to invest so much money now while its effects are still very uncertain.”

It therefore seems that tourism is fully recovering after two difficult years, although it is still difficult to make long-term predictions.

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