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Successful long weekend for tourism on Belgian coast

09:37 14/05/2024

Sunshine over the Ascension holiday weekend drove up tourism on the Belgian coast, with a total of 700,000 tourist overnight stays recorded and some 550,000 visitors for day trips, according to figures released by the provincial body Westtoer.

The figures represent an increase of 22% on the same period last year.

“The coast confirms its position as a popular four-season destination,” Westtoer said.

The sun was shining for an average of two hours longer each day at the seaside than in Uccle and Westtoer said the great weather was a major factor in obtaining an average occupancy rate of 90% in coastal hotels.

Ascension Thursday and Saturday were the busiest days, with about 175,000 daily visitors recorded. For the whole of the spring holidays, which began at the end of April in French-speaking schools, a total of 1.6 million overnight stays were recorded.

The figure represents an increase of 45% on last year, largely due to the fact that the Ascension weekend coincided with the end of the spring school holidays this year.

In all, about 770,000 people from Flanders, 580,000 from Wallonia and 250,000 foreign tourists have spent a night at the Belgian coast over the last two weeks.

Many of those tourists were able to swim, since lifeguards were deployed in multiple locations.

In Blankenberge, lifeguards have been in place since Saturday, allowing for bathing at three locations. Four lifeguard posts have been set up in Ostend, along with posts in De Haan and in Wenduine, the last of which having had lifeguards on duty since Thursday.

Lifeguards are also present on the beaches at Nieuwpoort and in the centre of Koksijde and Oostduinkerke.

In Zeebrugge, Bredene, Middelkerke and De Panne, it will be mid-June at the earliest before the beaches are supervised to allow for safe swimming.

From the start of the summer holidays, all 82 lifeguard posts along the Belgian coast – from Knokke to De Panne over a distance of 67 kilometres – will be operational. Lifeguards will be on duty from 10.30 to 18.30.

Written by Helen Lyons