Passchendaele anniversary may inspire more visits
July 31, 2017
Today (July 31st) marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the battle of Passchendaele in the First World War, an event that may prompt more tourists to visit Belgium and northern France.
A service will be held at Tyne Cot Cemetery, close to where the battle started at Ypres, and images from the battle have already been projected onto the wall of the nearby Cloth Hall. Members of the royal family and government ministers will be present, as will 4,000 relatives of people who fought in the battle.
The battle lasted until November 1917 and claimed half a million casualties. The muddy conditions meant that many of those who died drowned in the quagmire rather than being killed by shells or bullets.
Among those present was former England rugby captain Lewis Moody, whose mother's great uncle fought in the battle.
He said: "The brutality and the blood and the sacrifice that happened here is replaced with beauty, serenity, peace and calm."
The various centenaries of the Great War battles have promoted more people to visit old battle sites, with various memorials, museums and cemeteries to see, as well as physical reminders such as preserved trenches and fortresses.
While easy to get to, it is still important for tourists to take out travel insurance, in case illness or emergency forces a cancellation that might prompt a loss of money.
However, it is not just the First World War events that might prompt more visitors. Christopher Nolan's film Dunkirk has been earning rave reviews as thousands have flocked to the cinemas, and in doing so the film has sparked increased interest in one of the defining moments in the Second World War.
The film was partly shot in the present-day town, giving the movie a direct link with the place where the real-life events of May 1940 took place.
Dunkirk also has direct ferry links with Dover.
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