- The restrictive measures against the coronavirus are extended until 20 May
In a press conference on Tuesday evening it was announced that the restrictive measures are extended
until 20 May. However, primary school children will be able to go back to school from 11 May. High
schools are probably will reopen again 1st of June but have to comply to the 1,5-meter rules. The other
measures, including the closure of restaurants and cafés and also the visit scheme for nursing homes,
will be extended by three weeks as well. All mayor events that require special permits are cancelled
until 1 September. A week before 20 May, the Cabinet will again decide on these measures.
- The Dutch government expects largest budget deficit since WW-2
The Dutch government expects to be short of 92 billion euros this year. With an estimated budget
deficit of 11.8 percent, it is the highest deficit since the World War II. Government debt also explodes,
reaching 65.2 percent of the total budget. This is data that came out the Spring Memorandum that
Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra has sent out. According to the minister, this is a «rough
estimation» and the numbers eventually may be higher or lower: «The only certainty that we have is
that it will be modified again,» he says. 20 billion Euro has already been spent on all kinds of support
measures, and the postponement of taxes means that approximately 32 billion euros less will be
received this year. There is trust that this part can still be paid in the following years.
- Tourism Sector
- Tourism Behaviour according Belvilla
Dutch travellers are looking for destinations in their own country, although the summer holidays are
still far away, states Belvilla. Belvilla, owner of holiday homes, sees a 40% increase in domestic
bookings than last year around the same of the year.
- Survey of Columbus Magazine
Last week, Columbus Magazine surveyed the impact among readers, mainly consisting of frequent
travellers to faraway destinations. Almost 66% had to cancel their trip, says editor-in-chief Mark
Mackintosh. 75% of readers still want to go abroad this year, but 80% are now considering a domestic
- ANVR: complicated but not impossible summer
The Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators is expecting a difficult but not impossible
summer. Country by country, destinations will become available to a limited extent. “We also expect
that it will be decided – and this is now reflected in booking behaviour – to go a little later in the year.
Consumers will prefer the Netherlands or a holiday close to home.” Says ANVR executive Frank
- Aviation sector
- Transavia cancels all flights until May 27th
Transavia has decided to cancel all flights to and from the Netherlands until May 27. We have extended
this period due to the continuous measures in the Netherlands and at our destinations. With this
extension, we want to offer our passengers clarity about their flight. If the booking is canceled, the
passengers will receive a voucher to book a new flight.
- Competing destinations
- Greek minister of Tourism wants to re-open gradually again in July
The tourism sector of Greece hopes to gradually start up again in mid-July. That was stated by the
Minister of Tourism of Greece, Harry Theoharis. However, there will be some special requirements for
this. An important requirement for a gradual start is the approval by health authorities and count with
dedicated safety protocols, the minister states.
Weekly report Belgium– Week 17
20 – 28 April
- Government announces Covid-19 EXIT Strategy
After another marathon meeting, the National Security Council finally announced the measures agreed
to gradually ease Belgium out of lockdown at a press conference held late on Friday evening. The exit
plan will be introduced in four stages (1A, 1B, 2 and 3) and can be modified according to the further
evolution of the epidemic in our country.
4th of May
• Companies in non-essential branches of industry will be able to resume work, albeit under a
number of conditions. Tele-working will remain the norm and there should be no face to face
contact with customers. Only B to B working will be allowed. The wearing of mouth masks will
be mandatory on the work floor if social distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.
• Access to specialized non urgent health care will be gradually expanded
• People should remain in their homes, but more sport is allowed
11th of May
• All shops can be reopened but under strict conditions
• The authorities will take a decision about competitive sports by this date
• The regional tracing teams will start working. Each person who tests positive will be contacted.
They will be interviewed for contact tracking.
18th of May
• Schools will partially reopen. Classes with more importance in the learning curve of classes will
receive be prioritized. This in order to avoid full classrooms. Not all children will be able to
start school again.
• Mouth masks at schools will be obligatory for teachers and children already than 12
• By this date also other professions, like hairdressers, who have to work with contacts with
people will receive news about their reopening
• Small private gatherings should be possible but will be reconfirmed
• The possibility of day trips and day excursions inside Belgium will be considered in this phase
• Starting from this phase restaurants and bars could reopen. The conditions and the exact date
will be announced
• It will also be examined as to whether trips of more than one day to destinations both inside
and outside Belgium will be allowed and whether tourist attractions can reopen and smaller
open-air events can take place. However, all large-scale events remain banned until 31 August.
Source : VRT
- Economical situation
- Evaluation of the economic risk management team
About 1/3 of our economy came to a full stop. This was reported by Pierre Wunsch and Piet
Vanthemsche, presidents of the Economic Risk Management Group. The National Bank is expecting a
shrink of the economy of 8 percent this year. 40% of the active population of 1,3 million employees in
Belgium are economically unemployed. About 300.000 independent business owners had to stop their
The economic shock has double the size of the bank crisis in 2008 and 2009, but is temporary. In the
assumption that the economy is gradually relaunched starting from 3 May, it would take about 9
months before it reaches a level at about 2% lower than it was prior to corona crisis.
In order to obtain the relaunch of the economy, the Economic Risk Management Group has established
a toolbox of measures needed to ensure the safety of employees, including social distancing and the
usage of alcohol gels. Source: De Tijd
- Tourism Sector
- What type of holidays will Belgians prefer after the confinement period?
An international survey done by Tripadvisor shows that 82% of the interviewees is already looking
forward to their next trip and 63% of them are currently looking for inspiration for their next holidays.
More people are postponing their trip (61%) than canceling (17%).
When Belgians will travel again, the following trends will have their preference.
• Close-by destinations (or within Europe) are preferred
• Most people will decide to take the car
• Active holidays are picking up on popularity
• Avoiding mass tourism
• Holiday homes are smaller hotels would be preferred
• Less visited places or cities
• Multigeneration holidays to recuperate the time that was lost
- Rise in bookings for domestic holidays
On the Belgian coast there are already about ten percent more reservations made for this summer. If
you’re looking for a large holiday home with swimming pool in the Ardennes woods, you’re even in for
the effort. In general, about 6 out of 10 Belgian holiday homes for next summer are already fully
booked. Source: HLN
- Belgoparks takes initiatives to reopen Belgian theme parks
Belgoparks, the association of Belgian amusement parks, is taking initiatives to reopen the amusement
parks in Belgium safely. In doing so, it focuses mainly on limiting the number of visitors and
guaranteeing social distancing. For all parks, the health of visitors and employees is a top priority.
- Rising interest for motorhomes
«The interest in motorhomes is growing», says Urbano, a company with branches in Aarschot and
Ostend that sells and rents motorhomes. The company receives remarkably more telephones and emails
from people considering a purchase. According to the manager it will be the way to travel in the
future. Source: VRT
- These videos will make you dream
Following to a survey done amongst influencers and bloggers, 70% of tourists is looking for inspiration
now. It is important to continue reaching out to them. A series of destinations have launched videos
to inspire travelers in these difficult times. Also the video of Tenerife is mentioned in the article:
- Aviation Sector
- Brussels Airlines still plans to resume flights on 15 May
Brussels Airlines has said in a statement that «at this stage» it still plans to resume flights from 15
May. A final decision will be taken “in the coming days”, a Brussels Airlines Spokeswoman said on
She added that «We will of course be following the situation very, very closely. At this stage were are
aiming for 15 May as our restart date. During the coming days we will examine whether this is still
realistic and we will then make a final decision”.
However, at Friday evening’s lengthy press conference, the National Security Council didn’t set a
date for people in Belgium being once again able to travel abroad.
Brussels Airlines has suspended its flights up to and including 14 May due to the corona virus crisis.
Previously it announced that it would operate a reduced service from 15 May and that a number of
destinations would not be served for the time being.
- Brussels Airport announces the arrival of a new airline
In the mid of the crisis, Brussels Airport announces the arrival of a new airline. The Danish Sun-Air of
Scandinavia would operate between Brussels and Billund starting from September.
- Social distancing will be the end of cheap flying
«Imposing social distancing in airplanes will mean the end of cheap flying.» That’s what Alexandre de
Juniac, top executive of the international aviation organization IATA says. This means higher prices per
seat for the same income. The Juniac estimates that prices will increase by at least 50 percent. «To
make sure there’s a minimum profit.» Source: HLN
- Charleroi Airport plans to reopen softly starting from 2 June
Today the airport is completely closed. Starting from the 2nd of June it would gradually reopen. At first
with a very limited offer. Ryanair (the biggest airline at the airport) would start flying again from Mid
June onwards. Wyzzair is threatening the aiport that they should quickly move forward and inform
them about relaunch plans otherwise they would leave the airport and start flying from Brussels. The
airport has started with the reopening plans in line with health guidelines, including social distancing,
hand gels at various locations and the distribution of masks upon arrival to all guests.
- Competing destinations
- The most beautiful beaches of La Palma seduces everybody
La Palma launched a communication about their most beautiful beaches. Next to some other
communications they have done in the past weeks, it seems they are continuing to inspire travelers
with general information about the island.
- Thailand launches a new SHA certificate for hotels to restore trust
Thailand is not an immediate competitor from Tenerife but they launched an interesting initiative. In
order to restore trust, they launch a safety and health certificate. Hotels and other industry players are
invited to follow a severe list of measures in various domains in order to receive the SHA certificate.
It invoices elements and domains like:
• General rules following Covid-19
• Security and health requirements in local tourist attractions
• Hygiene in all touristic infrastructures
• Transport between tourist infrastructures, communities, attractions, etc
• Education of staff