Brussels and MICE: positive results for 2018

Brussels and MICE: positive results for 2018

As the capital of Europe and home to NATO, Brussels is a leading venue and reference in the MICE sector. The first results of 2018 show significant growth in terms of the size of events, their diversity and their contribution to economic growth, allowing the city to cement its position as the European hub for meetings, incentives, congresses and exhibitions.

Tourism in Brussels on the rise

When the world economy enjoys a positive outlook and consumer confidence is on the increase, this is immediately reflected in the general tourism sector figures. The numbers speak for themselves: hotels are doing well, short-term rentals are showing good growth, and the museums and attractions also saw 10% more people than last year.

These figures confirm the positive vibe in the city: you see a mix of people, regardless of the season, from the four corners of the world, and you hear so many different languages that even born and bred Brussels inhabitants enjoy a holiday feeling in their vibrant city.

A few figures:

Hotel arrivals (1)

+ 12% (versus Jan-Feb 2017)

Hotel overnights (1)

+ 13% (versus Jan-Feb 2017)

Museum and attractions (2)

+10% (versus Jan-Mar 2017)

Hotel occupation rate (3)

+3,3 pts (versus Jan – Apr 2017)

Daily rate hotels (3)

+ €7 (versus Jan-Apr 2017)

Short-term rentals (4)

+ 9% (versus Jan-April 2017)

MICE: + 9% and well over 50% of all hotel overnights

In 2017, 1.95 million visitors have stayed in Brussels for professional reasons, spending a total of 3.61 million nights (an increase of 13%). Most business travellers come from Belgium or Europe:

  1. Belgium: 22.9%
  2. France: 10.0%
  3. Germany: 7.0%
  4. UK: 7.0%
  5. USA: 6.8%
  6. Spain: 5.0%
  7. The Netherlands: 3.9%

However, numbers show the most significant increases come from emerging countries, with Brazil in pole position (a staggering +45%), followed by China (+25%).

And the numbers for 2018 are even better: compared to the first two months of last year, 9% more business overnight stays were recorded in January and February. This means that the business segment represents 54.12% of all overnight stays in the European capital. Positive figures, which are also reflected in employment: business tourism represents 19,000 jobs in Brussels.

2018: a calendar brimming with innovative events

Brussels has always attracted numerous international conferences and seminars. In 2018, it maintains and even strengthens its momentum in a number of key sectors: life sciences & bio-pharma, ICT, sustainability and clean technologies, creative industries & media, and business services.

The calendar of January-May reflects the status of Brussels as a key hub. In the first months, it has welcomed EARMA and ISLH.


This year, the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators had its 24th Annual Conference, focusing on case studies to build research support activities.

  • ISLH

The International Symposium on Technical Innovations in Laboratory Haematology is a yearly symposium for laboratory haematologists, which had its 31st edition in Brussels in May.

In June, four more world-renowned events take place, attracting professionals from all over the world.

  • EPC

The European Policy Centre has its conference on 15 June. The theme: Europe and Japan, towards a security partnership?

  • Brewers of Europe

The Brewers Forum brings the latest trends and offers inspiration to brewers and the brewing sector. It is attended by over 1,000 professionals.

  • ACI

The 28th edition of ACI Europe/ World General Assembly, Congress & Exhibition focuses on airports as brands and businesses, with airport leaders and CEO-level speakers sharing their views on the aviation industry and key airport issues.

  • SLAS Europe

The SLAS Europe 2018 conference & exhibition is a premier event for the European life sciences that brings together over 1,000 academic and industry scientists and technologists from around the world.


(1) source: SPF Economie
(2) source:
(3) source: MKG Hospitality
(4) source: AirDNA