1. How can I find out how many people visit my tourist site?

The easiest way to find out how many people visit a tourist site is to install one or more count systems directly on site, at the main entrances.

Measuring visitor numbers on the Gorges du Lignon Himalayan footbridge

The Communauté de communes des Sucs en Auvergne recently inaugurated France’s longest Himalayan footbridge.

At 268m long, the Gorges du Lignon footbridge is a unique tourist attraction. It offers a panoramic view of the biodiversity of the Natura 2000 site.

Two user counters were installed at the entrances to the footbridge, to measure the site’s appeal and understand its uses.

 

The data revealed the extent of the site’s frequentation, with over 200,000 passages recorded in 2023! Peak use was observed in April, May, July and August.

The two counters also reveal a preference for access via the South footbridge (on the Grazac side), particularly marked in August: +44% more traffic! This is invaluable information when it comes to making decisions about future resources and developments.

Discover our new, even more compact PYRO Nano counter

We have recently developed a new, even more compact, discreet and cost-effective visitor measurement system for tourist sites: the PYRO Nano. Weatherproof, it can detect users up to 4 meters away. Easy to install and very discreet, it can be installed in a trunk, on a post or on a branch.

Communication with mountaineering users on the Mont-Blanc ascent route

The protection of natural areas and the safety of users are also issues to be taken into account. To communicate effectively with users, frequentation data are invaluable.

Using a PYRO counter (one of the highest of all our installed systems!), data is collected on the number of climbers using the Mont-Blanc access trail. Visitor numbers are used to measure the level of exposure to risk, so that we can better communicate with climbers about the dangers of this access route.

 

Studies carried out by a scientific team have shown that a rock fall occurs on average every 24 minutes during critical periods (between 6pm and 8pm), and that the safest time to make the crossing is in the morning between 8am and 10am. Ultimately, the aim is to introduce an official bulletin warning of rockfalls, as is already done for avalanches.

According to mountain guide Hugues Chardonnet, the normal access route to Mont-Blanc is without doubt the most dangerous point in the Alps. Given that almost 20,000 climbers attempt to ascend the mountain every year, it is imperative to communicate better about the dangers. The data collected can be used to support research reports and communication campaigns.

2. How do you measure visitor numbers on a vast, open site?

One of the challenges of measuring visitor numbers on a site is that, by definition, a permanent counter installed on site can only obtain data from a single location. This can limit the knowledge available on a limited budget. There is, however, a way of finding out about visitor numbers on larger sites, using a combination of permanent and temporary counters.

We had the opportunity to do this for the Swedish Stenshuvud National Park (390 ha).

Mobile pedestrian counters were placed at four entrances, in addition to the permanent counting locations already established, to ensure complete coverage of all the main access points to Stenshuvud. In total, there were two counting points at the north entrance, three at the main west entrance, and one counting point at the south entrance.

Temporary data were extrapolated from permanent data to provide a highly accurate estimate of annual visitor numbers at all entrances. On this basis, the total number of visitors for the full year (2022) was produced: 246,000 tourists.

July is the busiest month, with 82,000 visitors.

Other lessons for park managers can be drawn from this report: the analysis shows that 7 out of 10 visitors access the park via the main entrance.

Unsurprisingly, weekend days are the busiest (18% of the total on Saturdays, 17% on Sundays).

This data has helped guide park managers in communicating with the public, identifying the busiest days and months, and providing an indication of the variability of visitor numbers.

It can be seen that attendance in the busiest month (July 2022) is 16 times higher than in the least frequented month (February 2022), which makes it possible to size resources. If problems of site saturation are identified, specific communication campaigns can be carried out to smooth out visitor numbers over the year.

Learn more about the study here

3. How can I find out about my visitors’ journeys and profiles?

To take analysis a step further, we can also cross-reference different data sources to obtain information on visitor profiles (in a totally anonymous way, of course). This is what we now offer with our VisitorFlow solution.

For large, open sites, this solution provides more precise information on visitor routes, by combining count data with GPS or cell phone data.

Here’s an example from the Canigou site:

By differentiating between weekdays and weekends, we can better understand how the site is used, and adapt our communications accordingly.

 

La Torche site (29)

The La Torche site is a protected area in several respects (conservatoire du littoral, classified site, Ramsar…). A global study is underway to develop the site in a sustainable way, and the commune of Plomeur and the community of communes of the Pays Bigouden Sud (Finistère) are seeking to objectivize visitor numbers.

A test phase was carried out with the VisitorFlow solution, and here’s what Ingrid Lainé, project manager – Pointe de La Torche development study, had to say:

“This solution enabled us, over a one-month period, to understand the uses and behaviors of tourists and visitors, in particular: time spent on site, geographical origin, variation in visitor numbers according to sporting events and/or weather conditions, including swell, since we’re a surf spot! After a conclusive trial, we decided to launch a campaign over several months to obtain data according to seasons and events.”

For example, the study revealed a significant number of tourists from Germany (74% of foreign tourists over the period studied).

This knowledge of geographical origins provides food for thought about the targeted communication campaigns that can be carried out.