The City of Antwerp is happy with 2022 tourism statistics, which confirm the upward trends of 2021. “2022 confirms the positive trend that had already started in 2021: many domestic and foreign tourists found their way back to Antwerp“, the city governments says in a press release.
2022 had a number of major events such as the cycling Tour of Flanders, the Tall Ships Races, the 15th running of Antwerp Pride featuring a big parade again after two COVID-19-proof editions, and the two-week World Counterstrike Championship (gaming). In addition, Antwerp celebrated the reopening of two crown jewels that remained closed for a long time: the city hall and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Antwerp (KMSKA).
Based on mobile data counts, a total of about 11.6 million day tourists were counted in 2022, which is an increase of 56% compared to 2021. This means that the figures are only 23% behind the level of 2019, the last normal year before the outbreak of the pandemic, and also a peak year.
Day tourism got off to a good start in January, when many Dutch people crossed the border to shop. One in two day tourists came from abroad in January. Other top months were July (including Tall Ships Races), October and December (Christmas period). 2022 follows the same visitor pattern as in 2019.
For a full return to the level of 2019, Antwerp still needs a significant increase in the number of international day tourists.
Currently, most day tourists come from Belgium (75.1%). International day tourists mainly come from our neighboring countries, with the Netherlands in the lead (66% of all international day tourists), followed by France (7.7%) and Germany (6.2%). What is striking is the return of people from the United Kingdom (2%) and from Italy (1.8%).
Based on the official figures of the FPS Economy, 2.01 million overnight stays were registered in the first ten months of last year. This is 77% more than in 2021 and only 7% less than all overnight stays in 2019. It is even expected that the 2019 figure will be surpassed once all months have been registered.
The origin of the resident tourist has returned to normal. There are again more foreign overnight tourists (61.6%) than domestic overnight tourists. The Dutch market was most strongly represented (37%), followed by Germany (13.5%) and France (7.3%). The UK is closing in on the top 3 with 7% and the United States is also showing a promising sign of recovery with 3.7%.
The recovery of residential tourism is largely due to tourists who come to Antwerp for leisure. 62.5% of all stays are due to leisure tourism versus 37.5% to business tourism. Pre-corona the proportions were 55% leisure and 45% business tourism. Business tourism has been impacted by the economic crisis (cutting, inflation) and by the numerous digital alternatives that are now available.
Alderman for Tourism Koen Kennis (N-VA): ‘Amidst all those good figures, this remains an issue. In October, we launched the Antwerp & Partners Convention Bureau to boost business tourism. The Antwerp Hotel Association, Easyfair, VOKA and A Room with A Zoo / FMCCA are joining forces in this. Our city has the facilities, the know-how, the companies and institutions to tap into that segment as well.”
The increase in the number of stay-over tourists also translated into an average hotel room occupancy rate of 64.44%, an increase of 25% compared to 2021, and 7.8% less than 2019.
This is due to the expansion of the hotel offer in Antwerp . Since 2019, 1616 rooms have been added in Antwerp.
In 2022, two five-star hotels, among others, opened their doors. These openings also had an impact on the average daily room rate. This is now 104.92 euros, with a peak of 116.13 euros in December. The average day room rate last year was 87.93 euros, so this is an increase of 17 euros.
Alderman Kennis thinks this is a positive development: “The hotel offer in Antwerp has been renewed and diversified in recent years and that is good. The arrival of two hotels in the luxury segment brings a new audience to Antwerp. Other sectors also benefit from this, such as retail and restaurants.”
It was not only busy at the hotels, 25,426 guests were also registered at the Antwerp City Camping. In addition to the typical camping months, the winter opening was also popular. They were fully booked on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Eve.
According to figures from the Visitor Barometer, a tool that contains the visitor figures of Antwerp museums and monumental churches, the number of museum visits increased by 162% compared to 2021. The churches also received 139% more visitors compared to the previous year.
It was a good year for the museums. The reopened KMSKA immediately attracted 267,000 visitors, making it the third most visited museum in 2022.
“Our city museums also present positive figures”, says Alderman for Culture Nabilla Ait Daoud (N-VA).
“The biggest attraction was the Middelheim Museum, with 535,000 visitors, followed by the Museum At the Stream (MAS) with 495,000 visitors. These two museums are (partially) freely accessible and many visitors therefore benefit from coming to take a look. The Rubens House is in fourth place with 152,000 visitors. The museum will be closed for renovation for several years from this year, and will therefore be missed.”
Since the end of 2020, tours have been booked via the online booking platform Experience Antwerp. In 2022, about 5717 tours were booked, mainly by Belgians and Dutch people. The most popular are those of the Antwerp city guides, the town hall and the MAS.
In addition, 6700 tours were organized throughout the city, where people get to know the city in a fun way. For example, you can explore the city on a wave or by e-step. These tours are popular with river cruise passengers and companies (incentives) and have mainly Flemish and Dutch participants. They account for about 86,000 participants.
The Antwerp attractions, with the Zoo, Plopsa Station, Chocolate Nation and Brouwerij De Koninck as the highlights, attracted a total of around 1.33 million visitors. Because a lot has changed in the attraction landscape and the keeping of data, it is difficult to make a comparison with previous years.
The tourist information desk in Het Steen was very popular last year and almost reached the mark of 300,000 visitors. Together with the visitors to the counter At Antwerp-Central Railway Station, this comes to a total of 412,000 visitors, which amounts to an increase of 187% compared to 2021.
The most sold products there in 2022 were the ATV-Wandelrally, the chocolate and pateekes pass, the Visit Antwerp Guide and the Antwerp City Card.
The Antwerp City Card was sold a total of 8,487 times, representing an increase of 239% compared to 2021. This figure also reflects the recovery in leisure tourism. As of this year, the Antwerp City Card has been completely replaced by an online pass, the Antwerp City Pass.
The past cruise season was all about recovery. Antwerp received a total of 796 river cruises, representing 109,764 passengers. This brings the city almost to the level of 2019 (-4.12%).
In addition, the city hosted 20 sea cruises, carrying 7,891 passengers. Compared to 2021, an increase of 88%, but a decrease of 76.9% compared to 2019.
Koen Kennis: “Antwerp is ready to receive even more cruises, the infrastructure to do so in the very best conditions is there.”
The cruise season also starts today, with the arrival of the Spirit of Adventure, a sister ship of the Spirit of Discovery that we already welcomed in Antwerp last year.
The Spirit of Adventure of the British shipping company Saga Cruises, which was launched in 2020, is mainly used in the British market and offers a ship of 236 meters with space for 987 passengers.
Expectations for 2023
“In 2023, we expect 23 sea cruise calls, 6 of which will call at Antwerp for the first time and account for almost 15,000 passengers. In addition to the sea cruises, 704 river cruises will also dock in Antwerp, welcoming more than 113,000 passengers”, the aldermen say.
In 2023, the city will continue to focus on attracting international city trippers, multi-day conferences and events from various sectors. Some of the highlights planned for this year.
- Diamond museum DIVA reopens on 24 March with a renewed collection presentation.
- A month later, culture lovers will get their money’s worth during the new city festival Baroque Influencers (from 22/4).
- Foodies will be spoiled during the fifteenth edition of Antwerp Proeft (18/5-21/5).
- During the summer months, it’s a countdown to the Giants of Royal de Luxe, who will roam the city for three days and enchant young and old with their puppetry (25-27/8).
- In the autumn, the best gymnasts in the world gather in the sports palace for the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships (30/9-08/10).
- In the MAS, the exhibition ‘Rare and indispensable’ (31/10/2023-25/2/2024) collects 100 masterpieces from the Flemish Top Pieces List.
- The KMSKA will let everyone look at ‘Krasse Koppen‘ in portraits (20/10/2023-21/1/2024).
- Museum Plantin-Moretus will show drawings from Bruegel to Rubens during ‘Van Crabbelinge to Carton‘ (17/11/2023 – 18/02/2024).
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Interesting! Thank’s Timothy.
Have a nice day!
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Thank you Elvira
Have a great day.