Press release - 08/06/2020:
From 8 June 2020, travel will again be partially permitted. The City of Ghent uses more than one and a half million euros to bring tourism in Ghent back to a healthy level. The City and the tourism sector will sail a new course together: tourism after corona will be local and sustainable, with a focus on distribution in time and space.

The restart consists of three parts. Communication campaigns put the unique assets of Ghent on the map. The emphasis is on residential tourism and on the uniqueness of Ghent. Secondly, the City of Ghent is working with local entrepreneurs to develop a renewed tourist offer. This will be coronaproof and tailored to specific target groups who consciously choose Ghent. Thirdly, the City of Ghent will support organisers of congresses and meetings in Ghent.

Campaigns: close by and yet unique

The first task is to restore tourism to a healthy level. Various campaigns, both online and on radio and television, will be aimed not only at domestic visitors, but from 15 June onwards also at neighbouring countries. Visit Ghent will promote the city as a unique destination, with a focus on the Van Eyck year. Ghent will also show itself as a base for walking and cycling tours. A collaboration with creative people from Ghent guarantees a campaign typical of Ghent: original and extraordinary.

Social media campaigns and campaigns with influencers, drawn by Nic Balthazar, will also encourage specific groups to visit Ghent. These are residential tourists with an interest in everything Ghent stands for: culture, culinary experiences, unique places, liveliness, connection with the people of Ghent, a large ecological scene.

New direction together with local entrepreneurs

In the short term, the City of Ghent supports tourism entrepreneurs in the development of a renewed and coronaproof tourist offer, so that they can concentrate on receiving the first visitors. The coming summer will be themed. In June and July Van Eyck will be at the centre: the 7senses-tour, KleurEyck in the Design Museum Ghent, and from 1 July also the Mystic Lamb in St Bavo's Cathedral. In August, Ghent tourism will be dominated by families with children.

In the longer term, the focus will be on a sustainable offer and the spread of tourism. There will be cycling and walking routes that lead visitors to the boroughs, the outskirts, the green belt and to less frequented places in the centre. Guides can also play a role in this. Congress tourism, which also takes place outside the summer, should help maintain the balance. Sustainability will also play an important role, think of steps towards the electrification of vehicles and wheelchair-friendly activities and infrastructure.

The City of Ghent will also ensure that everyone can enjoy a holiday, even those who don't have a wide range of options. From now on, Ghent residents will also be able to visit the 'Rap op Stap' travel mediation office in the local service centre De Knoop in Ledeberg.

Focus on conference tourism

The City of Ghent has a separate team specialised in MICE tourism (meetings, incentives, congresses and events). Due to corona, many congresses and events were cancelled. With an extra offer aimed at organisers, the City of Ghent now wants to become their host city. That is why a call is currently being prepared via the city marketing fund.

Professional and academic meetings and congresses are not only important because of the higher financial return, but also for the exchange of knowledge and networking they bring with them. For congresses and meetings, too, extra efforts are being made to make them more sustainable.

Moving forward together

Collaboration is the key word in the tourist revival in Ghent: with the tourist sector, from the non-profit organization Gent Hotels over Puur Gent to the museums, and with the other tourist offices in Flanders and abroad. In that context, the renewed campaign 'Vlaanderen Vakantieland - #welkomterug' was launched on Friday, together with the other art cities and Tourism East Flanders and Tourism Flanders. A digital platform is also linked to this campaign.


Joris Wauters
Van Braeckevelt cabinet
Mobile phone: 0498 28 70 23