Tourism and recreation | Compendium Coast and Sea

Tourism and recreation

Coastal and maritime tourism (including the cruise sector) is the biggest maritime sector in Europe with regard to the added value and employment. European coastal tourism generates 183 billion euro of added value and creates jobs for 3.2 million people. Moreover, about half of the tourist overnight stays are booked in coastal areas. The Belgian coast is a popular holiday destination as well. Residential tourism accounted for 5 million arrivals and 30 million overnight stays in 2016. The number of day trippers varies between 16 and 19 million annually. The total spending of coastal tourists amounts to approximately 2.9 billion euro. Besides coastal tourism, tourism in the hinterland accounts for a considerable number of arrivals and overnight stays as well. In the ‘Thematic chapter’, an overview is given of the scientific knowledge, socioeconomic data and legal aspects of the user function ‘Tourism and recreation’ for the Belgian coastal area. The European legislation applicable to this activity is discussed in more detail under ‘Legislation’, while the figures and background data can be consulted in an interactive way by clicking ‘Coastal portal’. More information about the available expertise regarding tourism and recreation within the Belgian marine research groups and their relevant research infrastructure can be consulted by clicking ‘Research groups’ and ‘Infrastructure’, respectively.