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Everyone deserves a holiday !

Vakantieparticipatie (Holiday Participation), a support centre within Toerisme Vlaanderen (Tourism Flanders), does not only bring holidays but also day trips within reach of those with a tight budget. The concept is simple: tourist attractions offer - out of their own pockets - between 30% and 80% discounts on tickets. Social organizations promote this offer and provide guidance as people choose, book, and prepare their dream trip. Because the experience of being away from it all, to clear one’s head, to enjoy a nice day in good company; this should be within everyone’s reach. To get away from it all: it reinvigorates people. To close the door behind you and to enjoy a day out together; priceless. Diana lives in Kontich, is chronically ill, and a mother of three young girls. Her family went on holiday to Limburg and discovered C-mine, the Blotevoetenpad (barefoot trail), and Bokrijk. ‘This carelessness gave me strength. I came home feeling like I could take on life again’, she said. ‘To go on holiday is to find new courage’, Marina believes. She is a voluntary travel consultant in the city of Dendermonde. ‘When you are having a rough time, you tend to go ‘crazy’ now and again from all the mental turmoil. When you take a trip you can switch off that button. Click. And then you’re back, ready for action.’ Every year, 120,000 people living in poverty book a holiday or day trip via Vakantieparticipatie. ‘And it just keeps growing. Not just because more people are finding us, but unfortunately also because the number of people living in poverty is increasing’, says Marianne Schapmans, director of Vakantieparticipatie. 80% of the bookings consist of day trips, mostly reserved by families with children and groups. Why are tourist attractions making an effort for people with limited income? Peggy Verelst, commercial director with amusement park Bobbejaanland says the following: ‘Everyone is entitled to a bit of a holiday. To a lot of families with children, an amusement park is part of that. And that is expensive. The cooperation with Holiday Participation is a structural way of doing something extra for people with limited income.’ Thanks to the commitment of tourist partners, Vakantieparticipatie can offer over 200 different attractions and events at a reduced rate. This includes major popular locations, as well as lesser-known but surprising outings.

Are you making due with a limited income? Do you know people whose budget prevents them from experiencing a holiday moment? Give shape to your plans for a holiday or a trip via , call 02/504 03 91 or the free number 1700.

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