Ghent businesses boom following eco-conscious plan, report says

Ghent businesses boom following eco-conscious plan, report says
A report has found that Ghent's circulation plan helped increase business for its restaurant and hotel industries. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A new evaluation of Ghent's circulation plan has found that not only has the environment improved, but the retail and hospitality industries have as well.

The circulation plan - which created one large car-free pedestrian zone to improve quality of life  -was introduced in Ghent in 2017 to reduce car traffic in the city, among other goals.

In the two years since the plan was introduced, an initial report found air quality has improved and more people are using public transportation. Now, a secondary study on other effects of the circulation plan reports that it has contributed positively to Ghent's retail sector, according to New Mobility.

According to the report, there was a 20% increase in new businesses in the hotel and restaurant industry with 7% fewer bankruptcies. Additionally, business growth is stronger than average in Flanders.

However, UNIZO East Flanders, a group that supports entrepreneurs, called for more nuance when examining the results, saying that findings could be a result of recent economic success overall and a historically low number of bankruptcies in East Flanders.

The only areas found struggling are speciality shops with customer bases outside of the city because of the assumption that Ghent is difficult to reach by car and because of the rise of online shopping.

Sam Nelson

The Brussels Times

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