Almost two years ago, a lot of spectators showed up during the World Cup. More than a million visitors attended time trials between Knokke-Heist and Bruges and road races that started in Antwerp or Leuven and finished in Leuven, where the EY consultant was previously accounted for on behalf of the International Cycling Union (UCI). There was talk of 1.52 million visitors, but since some went searching in several cities, there were about 1.03 million unique visitors. One in ten visitors (101,000) came from abroad, mostly from the Netherlands, followed by France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
Visitors stayed an average of 4.5 nights in Flanders. All visitors together spent almost 36 million euros during their stay (accommodation, food and drink, transportation…). 32 million euros of expenses were incurred by foreign visitors. In the end, this resulted in an “economic boost” (gross value added) to the Flemish economy of €27.4 million.
In addition to these economic benefits, Brussels undoubtedly aims to make a significant “social and reputational impact” with its World Cup candidacy. For example, in 2021, there were 208 million TV viewers worldwide from 113 countries and many millions more on social media.
The operating budget for the 2021 World Cup was €21.3 million. The Flemish government made a contribution of 13 million euros. The cities of Knokke, Bruges, Antwerp and Leuven paid the organization just under 3 million euros. The remaining costs were borne by the organizers. On Wednesday it will become clear what financial efforts governments are making to bring the World Cup to Belgium for the 11th time.
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