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Conference organisers tell Brussels 'we want to help'

Visit Brussels reports no major conference cancellations following terror attacks, despite airport still closed
30/03/2016

Pictured: more than 30 people were killed when two bombs went off last Tuesday; one at Brussels Airport and another at a metro

Brussels' convention bureau says there have been no major conference cancellations since last week's terror attacks, which killed 35 people.


Visit Brussels says it is in hourly contact with event organisers to update them with information and to advise them on security levels. Measures such as extra police officers or bodyguards are being offered by the bureau.


Meanwhile Brussels airport remains closed and isn't likely to reopen until Friday. Visitors to Brussels have been using two satellite airports or arriving by train, or even flying into nearby Paris and Frankfurt.


Visit Brussels CEO Patrick Bontinck said: "For each event that is taking place there is an evaluation of the risk and according to the risk there's security that we can put in place (such as) extra police, bodyguards. The organiser can call us and we can put them in contact with different authorities.


"We are in contact with the congress centre to analyse the event and be sure all the security is guaranteed for the safety of the people."


The bureau has reinstated its online service for event organisers to use in order to access up-to-date information. It is opening a similar service from tomorrow for independent leisure travellers.


Bontinck said conference organisers had been determined to go ahead with their events.


"There's quite a bit of solidarity in the team, that we need to keep going and keep living. And that's the message the organisers are saying too, of 'We want to continue, we want to help. We will come to Brussels'. I think that's a good message," he said.


"Directly after the events everyone was trying hard to keep life going. It was really important for us to show resistance with what's been happening in Brussels. After the Paris attack a lot of things closed. Now everything is opened in Brussels and everyone wants to keep it open and say 'we're not going to let terrorists close the city'."


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