The conference venues' section of this website already lifted a corner of the veil as to Ghent not just being a most attractive city but the ideal operating base to visit other wonderful cities and regions in Flanders / Belgium as well.
Here are some basic touristic tips creating the opportunity to prepare your visit to Belgium and to get acquainted with its diversity.
First of all there is the 65 km. north-west sandy coastline (with e.g. Ostend, called the Queen of the North Sea Resorts) in large contrast to the Ardennes in the south-east of the country, a natural area with vast forests, hills and fast flowing rivers. Links to this area in Wallonia through the following websites: Tourist Federation of the Province of Luxemburg, Tourism in the East districts, Tourist Federation of the Province of Liège (Lütich) and Tourist Federation of the Province of Namur.
The cities in Flanders you should not miss out on include Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ieper and Leuven.
What are your associations on Antwerp? Diamants? A major player in the world of harbors? Baroque? The painters Rubens, Van Dijck, Bruegel and Jordaens? Who needs more reasons in combination with its architecture to pay a visit to this metropolis?
Watch out when visiting Bruges! You wouldn't be the first visitor to not just fall in love but also maintain an enduring liaison with the 'Venice of the North' thus named because of its city canals ('Reien'). Wandering through Bruges (Minnewater, the Beguinage, ...) is like going back a few centuries and admiring an open air museum. As if this is not enough, Bruges is the Cultural Capital of Europe 2002, offering not just top exhibitions during the whole year but also expositions of (post-)modern art and many other cultural manifestations.
Brussels, originally founded around the 10th century on an isle in the river Zenne, is a multifaceted capital. Historical and cultural facets (e.g. the Koningsplein and the palaces, Grand Place) mix with business, international politics and popular facets (e.g. 'Manneken Pis').
Ieper has its own Lakenhalle and is known all over the world for its World War I memorial (the Menenpoort) where each evening at 20 hrs. the 'Last Post' echoes. The city is situated in the region of the so-called 'Flanders Fields', war cemeteries.
And Leuven has so much trump cards apart from its university founded in 1425 (!): the Great Beguinage, the university library rebuilt after World War I with support from the USA (First Lady Laura Bush visited the library last year), the city hall, ...