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#CallBrussels campaign launched to lure back meetings

Visit.brussels says campaign aimed at turning around falling visitor numbers since November's terror lockdown
07/01/2016

Phone boxes have been installed in three key points across Brussels like Mont des Arts (above), so foreigners can call in and ask a passer-by a question

Brussels' convention bureau has launched a campaign to bring back business and leisure tourists into the country, with hotel bookings down 20 per cent since the terror-related city lockdown.


Visit.brussels has set up three telephone boxes in iconic locations across the Brussels-Capital region, and is urging foreign tourists to call in and ask random passers-by a question. The exchange will be filmed on a webcam and broadcast live on https://call.brussels/


The convention bureau is also urging meeting and congress organisers to return to the capital, by offering a steady flow of information to address any misconceptions from delegates about it being a dangerous place.


A large number of meetings and conferences were cancelled or postponed following the lockdown in November, and visit.brussels deputy CEO Geert Cochez said average hotel bookings had fallen 20 per cent since.


"But that is going steadily up again and figures at the end of January should be at the level they were one year ago," he said.


Cochez said the bureau was keen to let the world know it was a safe place.


"There's no real reason not to come to Brussels yet still we see that not many people are confident in coming to Brussels," he said.


"We know congress organisers have many questions or people attending congress or other events in Brussels still have questions. With the campaign launching we want to counter the image created in international media during lockdown ... to explain that life nowadays is normal life, like in any other major European city. There's not any real reason to be afraid in Brussels."


In its newsletter, a spokesperson from visit.brussels said: "There has been a noticeable decline in the number of foreign tourists in the Brussels-Capital Region since the infamous Brussels lockdown. This decline has serious consequences, particularly for players in the tourist industry.


"Visit.brussels is launching the #CallBrussels campaign in order to reassure tourists and to convince them that Brussels is still a destination of choice."


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