Gerard Brackx, a Belgian born in the coastal city of Ostend was one of the pioneers of mass tourism from Belgium to Spain. He is called the discoverer of Benidorm because he ensured that the fishing village became one of the main holiday destinations for Belgians in Spain. What was still a sleepy fishing village on the Spanish Costa Blanca in the sixties, became the first introduction to the concept of 'A guaranteed sunny holiday' for hundreds of thousands of Belgians.
Brackx liked the "temperate climate" in Benidorm and even founded a hotel when the interest of the Belgian holidaymaker turned out to be overwhelming. He had Hotel Belroy constructed in 1970, after 5 years of working together with some small local hotels. First, he organized bus trips to Benidorm, it was a two-day trip. He later organized air travel to his hotels and therefore he founded the Jetair airline company in 1971. Jetair was the only Belgian tour operator to offer air travel to Benidorm until 1978.
|Picture Belroy hotel
Jetair's nifty marketing campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s carried his signature almost without exception. In 1998 Brackx stunned the competition by selling trips with a sun guarantee for the November holidays: if the sun did not shine at their holiday destination, the customers got their money back. A few years later, travelers recovered several hundred francs from their down payment on the trip because the dollar and fuel prices plummeted a few months after their reservation. It has paid off. The company was known for its honesty. At one point, Jetair took the vacation of one in ten Belgians. Later Jetair became a division of Tui airlines.
After an eventful career as a tour operator, Gérard Brackx died unexpectedly in September 2011 at the age of 80 in his birthplace Ostend.