Alcohol-free February sees profits dip in hospitality industry


The drinks and hospitality industry saw a loss in profits as more than 120,000 people take part in Tournée Minérale

No effect on Brussels

Tournée Minérale – the campaign that saw more than 120,000 Belgians swear off alcohol for the entire month of February – saw sales in Flanders’ hospitality businesses drop by about 10%, according to industry federation Horeca Vlaanderen.

Horeca Vlaanderen and the federation of drinks wholesalers FeBeD took a poll of 392 businesses in the hotel, restaurant and bar sector, and found 52% reporting a drop in income. In about one-third of the cases, sales dropped by more than 10%.

Sales of alcoholic drinks fell in 62% of cases, but that was partly made up for by sales of non-alcoholic drinks. The month-long campaign – launched by the Foundation against Cancer and the VAD expertise centre for alcohol and other drugs – also saw sales down by as much as 15% among drinks wholesalers. Sales of non-alcoholic drinks were up by only some 3%.

“Tournée Minérale had a clear impact on the sector,” said Filip Vanheusden, chair of Horeca Vlaanderen. “We’re seeing a fall in income especially in restaurants, which shows the importance of wine and apéritifs to profits.”

The drinks industry, meanwhile, has asked to be consulted by the campaign organisers ahead of future editions, so they can offer clients non-alcoholic alternatives.

The campaign had no effect on the hospitality industry in Brussels, meanwhile, according to sector federation Horeca Brussel.

According to organisers, 122,460 Belgians took part in the action, including some celebrities and politicians, including party presidents John Crombez (SP.A) and Wouter Beke (CD&V).

Photo: Ingimage