Last updated: 01:30 PM ET, Wed November 25 2015

Paris Attacks, Brussels Lockdown Lead To Significant Drop in Business Travel

Business Travel | Gabe Zaldivar | November 25, 2015

Paris Attacks, Brussels Lockdown Lead To Significant Drop in Business Travel

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

As of Wednesday, Belgian officials eased a lockdown that has gripped Brussels. However, according to a recent report, the tumult in the capital city has led to a dramatic decline in travel from a significant portion of the industry.

ForwardKeys, travel data analyst, has startling news following the tragic events that unfolded in Paris recently.

The news release centers around travel to Brussels, which has been the sight of massive citywide shutdowns.

As you see from the following graph, Brussels has seen a sharp decline in visitors compared to this time last year.

Image via ForwardKeys

Via the press release, the above graph illustrates the most immediate impact of the lockdown and subsequent attacks on Paris: “net bookings, which take into account both daily bookings and cancellations, show a drop of 159 percent since the beginning of the weekend, when the lockdown came in to force.  In the previous week, which directly followed the Paris attacks, bookings were 23 percent down.”

Co-founder and CEO of ForwardKeys Olivier Jager expounded on the numbers: “If bookings are 100 percent down that indicates that no net bookings were made. 159 percent down means that in addition to no bookings being made, there were cancellations equal to 59 percent of the number of bookings made on the equivalent day last year.”

ForwardKeys then took its information and looked at various travel demographics that usually frequent Brussels at this time of year.

As you see, those business travelers leaving to the capital stopped their respective plans en masse, first following the Paris tragedy and then more dramatically when the lockdown in Brussels went into effect.

Image via ForwardKeys

ForwardKeys states: “Analysis by type of travel reveals that business travel has been much more significantly affected by the lockdown than leisure travel, with bookings at -195 percent compared to -106 percent for leisure.”

However, there is a bit of hope for an influx of commerce into the area as the news release also features the following image, which illustrates the December outlook is rosier than the tumult of November.

Image via ForwardKeys

The above image illustrates that travel bookings over the first couple weeks of December are above normal, which may point to business travelers practicing just a bit of caution until things get back to normal.

The news release states the above “(suggests) that a significant proportion of business trips to Brussels have, in reality, been postponed by a fortnight rather than cancelled outright.”

And slowly the lockdown begins to thaw according to CNBC:

CNBC continues that Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will have Brussels on its highest state of alert until sometime next week. However, some portions of the city began to see new life on Wednesday.

The report offers on the burgeoning contrast, “While Brussels' metro system and schools reopened on Wednesday, the Belgian and European Union capital remains under partial shutdown, with many businesses — especially those catering to consumers and pedestrian traffic — continuing to shutter their doors.”

Brussels may continue at least a partial lockdown headed into the second half of the week, but a sense of normalcy is slowly starting to peek its glorious head through the eerie still that envelops the capital.

According to the above graph, travelers from all walks of industry are on the way to once again infuse some bustle into the area. 


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