Arrivals by overnight-stay tourists


Tourism Accommodations, Statbel, processed by VISITFLANDERS and Statistics Flanders


  • Arrivals: each month the commercial accommodation establishments dispatch the number of arrivals and overnight stays to Statbel (Belgian statistical office). An arrival is defined as the arrival of a person at the premises of a commercial accommodation provider, followed by at least one overnight stay. Arrivals are registered by country of residence of the guest and purpose of travel. The number of arrivals by and large corresponds to the number of overnight-stay tourists, with the difference that every tourist is counted as an ‘arrival’ every time he or she checks in at a new accommodation establishment.  
  • Art cities: Antwerp, Bruges (excluding Zeebrugge), Ghent, Leuven and Mechelen. Brussels too is ranked as an art city in the classification adopted by VISITFLANDERS, but is not included in this publication. 
  • Seaside: all seaside towns including Zeebrugge. 
  • Flemish regions: all municipalities in Flanders, except for the seaside towns and art cities, are allocated to 16 touristic regions, collectively referred to as the Flemish regions. 

Remarks on quality

The activities of the tourist industry are measured here via the supply side. From the supply side, the number of overnight stays in the accommodation establishments have been counted since 1953. These overnight stays are split according to the different types of accommodation establishments and the usual country of residence of the guests. Since 1992, the data have been supplemented with information on the arrivals, the purpose of the visit and the average duration of the stay.

All companies that provide paid accommodation are required to declare their activities. Hospitals, boarding schools and shelters/asylums are expressly excluded. Every month, the accommodation providers receive a questionnaire in which they record the number of guests, specifying their place/country of residence and their date of departure, along with the purpose of their visit, the number of nights spent and the number of units occupied.
The compulsory nature of this questionnaire for all accommodation establishments means that they provide a high level of accuracy.

Since 2015, Statbel has only used figures from licensed, reported or recognised accommodation establishments (Implementation of a Royal Decree of 12 January 2015). This has meant a sharp fall in the number of surveyed accommodation establishments of certain types (e.g. youth accommodation, camping sites, adult accommodation centres). On the other hand, licensed and reported holiday cottages are now included in the figures. In some cases, this results in major disparities between the figures for 2015 and previous years, which do not reflect the actual development of residential tourism. It is therefore recommended not to compare the figures of overnight stays and arrivals for 2015 with previous years.

Monthly figures 2020: these are provisional figures that can be adjusted later as more and better data become available (for example arrivals by tourists who arrive in month X, but leave in month X+1). The monthly figures will be recalculated when calculating the annual figures. Only then can the figures be considered final.



Statbel: horeca and tourism


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