Vakanz 2019; Credit: Marie De Decker

With the annual Vakanz tourism fair now seeming consigned to the history books, explored the event, looking ahead to what the future may have in store.

Last held in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vakanz tourism fair had been held annually for 29 editions at LuxExpo the Box in Luxembourg-Kirchberg and was marketed as the largest such event in the Greater Region attracting over 30k people in the last couple of editions, in 2019 and 2020. 

It was held across three halls, featuring 200+ exhibitors from all over the world, including tour operators, airlines and coach operators to travel agencies and hotels. In its most recent editions, the organisers introduced more initiatives, including evening party-style events and more.

Offering information and advice on "future trips to Luxembourg, Europe and beyond…", the Vakanz fair focussed heavily on outbound tourism. However, the Vakanz fair has not reappeared since the pandemic.

Luxair and LuxairTours

Luxair (with LuxairTours) traditionally had by far the largest stand at Vakanz, with separate desks for each destination.

Although was the specific website of the tourism fair, and remains operational with one single page in three languages displaying the message "The dates of the fair will be revealed to you soon" (in French), Luxair now uses the second-level domain, with it pointing to the page

Just today, Luxair has launched a new "Festival Vakanz" promotion, valid from 19 to 31 January, "offering a multitude of choices at exceptional prices" on both the Luxair and LuxairTours websites, covering its "extensive network of over 94 destinations to discover". Their offer includes 60,000 discounted tickets.

General Directorate for Tourism reached out to the General Directorate for Tourism within the Ministry of the Economy, asking if there still a chance a 2024 edition will go ahead or has the event been cancelled definitively/for good? Also, what does the absence of this fair, which proved popular in the past, mean for Luxembourg's tourism sector? Has the sector been impacted by its absence so far?

The Office of the Minister of the Economy, SMEs, Energy and Tourism confirmed that the "Luxembourg Tourism Fair!" will not take place this year, and explained it was mainly focused on outbound tourism, which refers to a journey or vacation taken outside Luxembourg. National residents, wishing to travel abroad, were given country and destination ideas during this fair".

The ministry clarified "However, the focus of the General Directorate for Tourism lies on inbound tourism, which qualifies as visitors entering Luxembourg. We also focus on residents doing domestic trips. Therefore, numerous touristic events are being organised on a yearly basis, which focus primarily on inbound tourism, such as our annual event on the Place d’Armes “Lëtzebuerg, dat ass Vakanz”, the “Vëlosummer”, the Expat Day, or the Campingsmaart".

The ministry also referenced statistics from STATEC which show a progression in inbound tourism over recent years, with inbound tourist numbers now surpassing pre-pandemic figures, as follows:

- 2019: 1,041,117
- 2020: 525,160
- 2021: 615,323
- 2022: 1,012,570
- 2023: 1,067,000 (preliminary estimate)