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Positive autumn for Belgian amusement parks
After the past few years of coronavirus shutdowns and the devastating floods last year, Belgium’s struggling amusement parks are reporting that attendance was up during the autumn break.
Exceptionally mild weather was likely a contributing factor to the increase in park-goers this autumn, along with the new school calendars for French-speaking students that provided an extra week of free time.
Attendance in amusement parks was higher during this period than in previous years, with some parks even having to close their gates after reaching maximum capacity.
Halloween in particular was one of the busiest days, at least when it came to the Plopsa parks.
“Attendance had its ups and downs, but overall it was slightly better than in previous years,” said chief executive Steve Van den Kerkhof.
“This is probably due to the good weather during the long weekend.”
No less than 207,000 visitors came to Walibi over the two-week break, an increase of 24% compared to last year. The park had to turn away some guests to avoid overcrowding.
“The weather was good and our offer was very popular. We are very satisfied,” said spokesperson Justien Dewil.
Pairi Daiza also repeated the benefits of a longer autumn holiday for French-speaking school children.
“We have a positive assessment of this new school rhythm, with the holidays of the French-speaking [Belgian] pupils corresponding to the holidays of the French,” said the park’s press officer Claire Gilissen.
“The pleasant weather and the quality of our wide-ranging artistic programme also contributed to the good attendance.”
Bellewaerde also saw record attendance during the Halloween weekend in particular.
“We were almost completely full on three occasions, with a peak of 13,000 visitors on Sunday 30 October,” said Filip Van Dorpe, Bellewaerde's marketing director.
“We even had to turn away some visitors, but everything went well despite the crowds. We can say that we did better than expected during the autumn holidays.”
Bobbejaanland also reported great success, calling it the best Halloween since 2006.
“We held the event for 20 days instead of 16, with seven haunted houses, including three new ones,” a park spokesperson said.
“Thanks in part to the good weather, Halloween in Bobbejaanland was a real success. We will always remember it as a top event.”