Antwerp welcomed two million day tourists and counted some 337,000 overnight stays in the summer of 2022, according to Alderman for Tourism Koen Kennis (N-VA). The Tall Ships Races, Tomorrowland in Boom, the Museum Night and Antwerp Pride are responsible for most of these visitors.
The city government had counted on 800,000 visitors.
Antwerp remains a popular destination among day trippers, a press release says. Based on mobile data counts, it was determined that as many as 2.06 million people visited the city this summer, a 34% increase compared to 2021, with the absolute highlight being the weekend of The Tall Ships Races and the Bollekesfeest. Compared to pre-corona year 2019, it’s still 15,6% less.
76% of day trippers come from Belgium, which highlights the importance of the Belgian market. On ATV Alderman Kennis highlights many tourists come from Flanders. Not a surprise as Kennis is member of a flamingant party. But he also mention people from Wallonia find their way to Antwerp.
Koen Kennis: “Over the past few months, everyone has been able to see how busy it was in the city and how cosy. Thanks to a number of investments such as Het Steen, the facilities for cruise boats and the reception desk and (temporary) exhibition in the ground floor of the renovated town hall, we are increasingly able to receive visitors. I am also pleased to see how our tourist entrepreneurs contribute to the image of Antwerp beyond our city limits and even abroad. I am certainly thinking of our retail sector, the new hotels and our restaurant owners.”
Based on mobile data counts, 337,000 overnight stays were registered, 72% more than in 2021. These figures almost equal the figures for summer 2019 (-13,7% compared to 2019).
The average length of stay of overnight tourists is longer than in 2019. Visitors stay 1,61 day(s) in Antwerp. So this means: arriving in the morning, one night, leaving in the afternoon.
The trend of domestic tourism continues and this summer too, Belgians accounted for 60.6% of all overnight stays, compared to 66% in 2021.
Among international visitors, the Dutch were again the most numerous, with 42.9% of the total of all international overnight stays. Followed by Germany (11.1%) and France (8.9%). It is also striking that there are more visitors from the United Kingdom (5.9%) and from Italy (3.8%).
The increase in the number of stay-over tourists also translated into an average hotel room occupancy rate of 68.15%. The occupancy rate was highest in the second half of July, thanks to some major events such as Tomorrowland and The Tall Ships Races, followed by the traditional decline in August.
The average hotel room price rose to 104.56 euros with a peak in July. In August, the average price fell to 96.88 euros.
Didier Boehlen, chairman of the Antwerp Hotel Association: “The extra weekend Tomorrowland and The Tall Ships Races was a nice bonus, making this summer a great period for the Antwerp hotels. The higher average daily price was certainly welcome in order to be able to pay the current costs and especially the energy costs. The challenges remain great in finding the right employees, but we are hopeful for the future! We expect the occupancy to remain sufficiently high in the autumn, so that we can close 2022 on a good note.”
This summer, 772 tours were booked at Experience Antwerp, which is an increase of no less than 93% compared to summer 2021 (400 tours). The online booking portal Experience Antwerp is becoming more and more known to the general public.
The Antwerp Story
108,257 visitors discovered the many beautiful churches in the city, which is 78% more than in 2021. The ‘Night of the Churches‘ traditionally took place in August, which attracted many spectators.
Antwerp is rich in museums, which attracted 97,724 visitors this summer, an increase of 40.6% compared to 2021. The Rubens House sold no less than 30% of all tickets.
The Antwerp visitor centers reached 100,000 visitors this summer, with a record number for Het Steen in August (38,007 visitors). The absolute top day was on 15 August, when the Rubensmarkt and Mother’s Day attracted no fewer than 1,940 visitors to Het Steen.
Due to the beautiful record figures of Het Steen, the visitor numbers are even higher than in 2019 (increase of 17%).
Here too, the Belgians were most strongly represented with 39%, followed by the Germans with 13.5% and the French with 8.8%.
The best-selling product this summer was by far the ATV hiking rally, but Cultuursmakers‘ search for ‘Pictured Antwerp‘ also proved to be a bull’s eye. The Antwerp City Card is again doing better than last year, with 1,751 tickets sold this summer, half of which online.
The river cruises are doing very well. The city received 187 of those cruises, accounting for 26,472 passengers, which is an increase compared to 2019.
Outlook for autumn 2022
This autumn, too, there are many good prospects for the Antwerp tourism sector.
On Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA / RMFA) will finally open its doors again and the KMSKA will show more than 600 art treasures to a large, international audience.
The Antwerp Fashion Museum (Momu) will also reopen its doors to the general public at the beginning of October. This reopening will also attract a lot of visitors to Antwerp.
In addition, a new edition of the culinary festival ‘Smaakmeesters‘ will take place at the beginning of October, and the DIVA museum will open its doors again in December.
Finally, during Winter in Antwerp, many people will traditionally visit the city in search of that Antwerp cosiness.
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