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Following the Paris attacks and the Brussels lockdown at the end of 2015, a testing time for Brussels hotels was taken to a new level by twin attacks carried out in Brussels on 22 March. Since November 2015 occupancy rates have been strikingly low and include the lowest monthly rates of any March-June period, reaching a trough of 53.90% in April in the direct aftermath of the Brussels attacks
According to Brussels entrepreneur organisation Beci, a quarter of all hotels in the Brussels region were close to bankruptcy in April. Measures must be taken by authorities to prevent a worsening of the situation. For instance in April the idea was floated to temporarily suspend municipal taxes levied on hotels in order to stimulate growth. Meanwhile, the Region is striking partnerships with hotel booking websites to advertise Brussels and offer discounts.
Despite the recent turbulent situation, players continue to invest in the development of the hotels across the territory, signalling a level of confidence in the industry’s long term prospects. However, many new hotels are integrated in mixed-use projects, and are to be managed by international hotel chains, rather than independent Belgian operators.
Investors also remain involved in sustained activity on the back of an intense 2015. In H1 2016, total invested volumes exceeded EUR 150 million with more deals expected to follow as investors continue to register interest in this alternative asset class while numerous developments are under construction across the country.