Kortrijk starts tracking its visitors

It has emerged that the city of Kortrijk (West Flanders) is using figures provided by telecom giant Proximus to count the number of people visiting the city also to see what they are doing.

1,799,336 people visited Kortrijk in June, July and August.  This works out at a daily average of 19,558. Students, employees and residents are not included in these figures.

Belgium’s privacy watchdog the Privacy Commission scrutinised the project but found that its privacy concerns had been met.

Proximus is able to say how many mobiles are located in a particular part of Kortrijk at one time.  An extrapolation is then made for the entire city also taking account of people on other providers or not using a mobile.

The figures will allow the city to market itself more effectively says the local alderman.

Kortrijk intends to use the data to support tourism and commerce.  In future measurements will be carried out every quarter. The project costs the city 40,000 euros a year.  The data also reveals the nationality of callers and the origin in Belgium (province and even municipality) visitors hail from. The city intends to compare these figures with data from credit card provider Visa as well as debit card information to work out how much people are spending or which event triggered a visit.

The findings of the first measurement are clear. Sales Days attract large crowds to Kortrijk.  Whit Sunday attracted 49,000 visitors, a peak. 76% of Belgian visitors hail from the same province, West Flanders, 4.82% from Hainault and 1.53% from Antwerp.

Half of all foreign visitors are French.  Dutch visitors make up 14%.  Dutch nationals were attracted by festivals including Alcatraz and Kamping Kitsch.