Belgium’s hidden beauty
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 4/17/20, 10:04 am
The bluebells in Belgium’s Hallerbos forest are so beautiful, tourists aren’t allowed to see them this year. The flowers, also known as wild hyacinth, would draw so many visitors officials decided to close parks and parking lots and ban non-locals to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
How will this affect the region? In a good year, up to 10,000 tourists come to see the violet-blue carpet beneath the beech trees during the April Bluebell Festival. The locals now have the bluebells mostly to themselves. And with less foot traffic to crush the fragile flowers, they are expected to thrive and make a triumphant return next year. But it is hard on local businesses: Restaurants in the nearby town of Halle are missing the bump in tourism. “This pains the heart badly,” Mayor Marc Snoeck said, but added, “We are 100 percent sure that the flowers will be back next year.”
Dig deeper: Read Lynde Langdon’s report in The Sift about how the pandemic has changed the behavior of animals.
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