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Antwerp vs. Bruges: the business / leisure match

Antwerp and Bruges, two of Belgium's most important cities, count on assets distinct from the hotel and tourism industry.

The diamond capital of Antwerp is also a hub for international logistics. Its port, connected to Europe via a series of canals, a crossroads of motorways and railway junctions, make Antwerp a multimodal platform of great importance (covering 13,000 ha). In terms of freight traffic, Antwerp is the second largest container port in Europe after Rotterdam, the two cities being connected by the Scheldt canal. There are approximately 900 companies at the port and it generates 65,000 direct and 183,000 indirect jobs; 214.4 million tons of goods were handled there in 2016, up 2.9% from 2015.

The Flemish government, the city of Antwerp and the local resident associations reached an agreement in 2017 on the construction of new road junctions to enhance the city’s accessibility. “Ring 1” is to be completed to form a full ring by 2020, and should be partially covered by a green zone.

On January 1, 2018, the corporate chain supply in Antwerp reached 2,692 rooms in 19 hotels, mostly on the midscale and upscale segments.

To find out more about the evolution of the hotel portfolio, consult our full report: European Hospitality Report Belgium 2018

As the diamond capital was not directly affected by the 2016 terrorist threat, the subsequent rebound in 2017 was more moderate than in the capital city. Driven by the rise in ADR (+5.3%) and to a lesser extent by its Occupancy Rate (+3.5 points), Antwerp’s RevPAR grew by 10.3% to reach an annual average of €64.4 including VAT.


Located in the Flemish region, Bruges is a very touristic town thanks to its belfries and canals that earned it its nickname "Venice of the North". The town has a population of 118,000. Not far from the port city there is a popular beach destination called Knokke-Heist where there are no chain hotels.  

Thanks to its strategic position as a coastal northern city in Belgium with deep-water access, Bruges has one of the most important ports of Europe. Along with Antwerp, highway and railway infrastructures allow it to develop its shipping industry. Even though the international Ostend-Bruges airport is mainly focused on cargo transport, it also offers connections with the Mediterranean basin and the Canary Islands. Bruges is also very interesting for leisure tourism with its medieval heritage as a fortified town that still has its original gates. The cultural richness of the city, on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, and its gourmand appeal as a self-declared world capital of chocolate, all combine to make Bruges a popular and charming city. 

As of 2018, the city hosts 12 chain hotels and 1,257 rooms, which represents a net loss of 70 rooms.

For more details, see our full report: European Hospitality Report Belgium 2018


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