Saturday, 16 January 2016

Brussels unveils campaign to win back tourists after terror scares

VISIT BRUSSELS has followed Paris in announcing plans for a campaign to assure tourists following the terror scares at the end of last year.

The city was on virtual lockdown for almost a week in November amid security fears following the November 13 attacks in Paris and the subsequent arrests of terror suspects in raids in Brussels suburbs.

Extra police and military were drafted in to patrol the streets, public transport was suspended and events cancelled. Since the lockdown, and further scares over the New Year, visitor numbers have fallen drastically.

Although it could not provide figures, the city's tourist board admitted a 'noticeable decline' in the number of foreign visitors, and said this 'has serious consequences, particularly for players in the tourist industry'.

It hopes a new campaign, #CallBrussels, will help woo visitors back.

‘Over the past few weeks, the international media has portrayed #Brussels as a war zone that tourists would do well to avoid,’ said a statement from Visit Brussels. ‘This has obviously had dire consequences for the tourist sector, which is currently experiencing a noticeable decline.

‘With the international #CallBrussels campaign, aims to convince tourists intending to visit Brussels that there is no reason to revise their travel plans.’

Aimed at its major markets, including the UK, the campaign will see telephone boxes placed in three landmarks – the Mont des Arts, the Place Flagey, and the Place Communale in Molenbeek. Foreign tourists can call the telephone boxes, via a special website – – and passers-by will be able to answer their questions.

Webcams will film the surroundings and the interactions will be broadcast live on the website. Video clips shot during the action will be shown via social media and through the purchasing of media space on websites in key markets.

‘The people of Brussels are proud of their region and are no doubt eager to re-establish the truth regarding the situation in Brussels,’ said Visit Brussels.

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Picture Credit: "Brussels floral carpet B" by Wouter Hagens - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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