Two out of five Belgians will opt for a less expensive holiday in 2023 due to the current crisis and rising prices, a new survey says.
According to the results, most Belgians plan their holidays well in advance and are mainly inspired by the advice of their relatives. The survey found that the main concerns of Belgians when planning their holidays are the price, the weather and the nature.
The findings were timed to coincide with the Brussels Holiday Fair, which runs at the Heysel until Sunday (February 5).
More generally, growth in the sector is now nearly back to 2019 levels, that is, before the coronavirus pandemic.
A new conference was also told that for many people a holiday is now seen as an “absolute necessity” due to rising levels of stress and burnout in Belgium.
Bruges-based Koen van den Bosch, a travel expert, told reporters that the health crisis had resulted in people reassessing their lives and “seeking a better work-life balance.”
He said, “An annual holiday is now seen as a necessity to help offset rising stress and burnout.”
The annual fair is opportunity for people to discover new destinations, affordable travel options and special offers for families, groups or travel as a couple. Visitors can also meet representatives of different tour operators, tourist offices and travel agencies.
According to the survey results, half of Belgians (48%) plan to travel in 2023 with the same budget as before. Another part (25%) plans to travel, but less often or with a smaller budget. The results also show differences between Dutch speakers and French speakers.
The latter being more likely to say that they will not travel or will travel with less budget in 2023.The survey also found that 72% of Belgians plan to shop around more before booking a trip or holiday, due to rising prices. Finally, half of Belgians (46%) prefer to save on other things rather than travel.
The survey results indicate that price (55%), weather (43%) and nature (38%) are the most important factors for travelers when choosing their vacation destination. Discovering a new destination (29%) is also often mentioned. On-site amenities (25%) are considered important by a quarter of respondents, while a fifth mention gastronomy (22%) and cultural activities (21%).
People in the oldest age group are more likely to cite amenities, and therefore comfort, as an important factor in their choice of vacation destination. In contrast, younger people are more likely to cite sustainability as a factor of choice. The survey found that Belgian travellers accompanied by their children are more likely to mention the price and the weather as decisive elements of their holidays.
Various countries are represented, including Taiwan, and the theme of its stand this year is “Slow Travel in Taiwan” with the design of the booth intended to promote “cycling”, “hot springs” and “ecotourism”.
Through virtual reality equipment, visitors can experience the country’s beautiful scenery while riding a bike. The “Oh Bear” hot spring photo area, with balloon decorations of classic Taiwanese bags and slippers, allows visitors to take photos and feel the retro and nostalgic atmosphere of Taiwan.
The stand is decorated with a few of Taiwan’s unique butterflies and birds, showcasing the rich and diverse natural ecology of the country while, inside the pavilion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ “Trending Taiwan” channel and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s video showcase the varied beauty of Taiwan.
The stand also features many eye-catching activities, including a live performance of Taiwanese songs by students from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels; balloon artists creating butterfly balloons; free tastings of local Taiwanese specialities such as braised pork rice, tea eggs and brown sugar cake; and the chance to win prizes playing night market games.
This year, Taiwan invited China Airlines and EVA Air to join the event and jointly promote their range of Taiwan-Europe flights.
Taiwan’s Ambassador Remus Li-Kuo Chen also visited the fair and he is among those who hope its promotion at this year’s holiday fair will inspire people to book a trip to Taiwan and experience its rich culture and vibrant atmosphere for themselves.
A Taiwan tourism source said, “With the recovery of the global tourism market fully underway, we are confident that the goal of 6 million international tourists visiting Taiwan in 2023 will be achieved.”
The “destination of honour” for this edition is Corsica,partly because it is a popular region with Belgians, especially for lovers of nature, the sea and hiking. According to the results of the survey, most Belgians have already been on holiday in Corsica or wish to do so one day. Indeed, 13% of Belgians have already visited the island, 9% have concrete travel plans to come and 59% would like to go there one day.