June 18, 2018 / 3:30 PM / 8 months ago

Belgian tourism rebounds to pre-attack levels

Wild bluebells, which bloom around mid-April, turning the forest completely blue, form a carpet in the Hallerbos, also known as the 'Blue Forest', near the Belgian city of Halle, Belgium April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Tourism in Belgium rebounded last year to levels seen before it was hit by militant attacks in 2016, the country’s economy ministry said on Monday.

Belgium, popular with tourists because of its picturesque medieval city centres and art galleries, was the scene of twin attacks in Brussels in March 2016 in which 32 people were killed.

The number of nights booked in hotels and other forms of holiday accommodation in Belgium, including by locals, increased in 2017 by 5 percent from 2016 to 38.7 million, also a 1 percent increase compared to 2015.

In Brussels, hardest hit by the attacks, nights booked increased by 22 percent in 2017 compared to 2016 but were still 2 percent below 2015 levels, the ministry said.

Reporting by Julia Echikson; Editing by Susan Fenton

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