Boosting footfall: More visit central Brussels since Good Move

Boosting footfall: More visit central Brussels since Good Move
Credit: Thierry Roge/Belga

The 'Good Move' mobility plan has had no negative impact on the number of visitors to Brussels, with 1.25 million people visiting the city centre in October – 5.6% more than in July before the new circulation plan took effect.

In October, 1.25 million people visited the shopping area in the city centre – the area between Grand Place, the Bourse, Place de Brouckère and Place de la Monnaie. This number is 13.6% higher than in September, but especially 4.8% higher than in May, 6.4% higher than in June and 5.6% higher than in July.

From these figures, Brussels city councillor for Economic Affairs Fabian Maingain told Bruzz that the City of Brussels' circulation plan "does not have a negative impact" on the number of visitors coming to the centre since its introduction in mid-August.

Nuanced view of Good Move

Of the 1.25 million visitors in October, 27% were Belgians living outside Brussels, 35% were Brussels residents and 38% were tourists from abroad. Most Belgian visitors came from Flemish and Walloon Brabant, as well as Antwerp.

The figures were gathered by the City of Brussels from telecom operators counting the number of smartphones staying in the neighbourhood for more than three hours; a method that largely excludes residents, workers and people in transit. To further refine its analysis, the City of Brussels also used a second counting system using the Wi-Fi sensors in Rue Neuve, which detect the number of people in a street every hour.

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Maingain attributed the difficulties that some retailers have complained about since the Good Move plan was implemented mainly to factors that transcend City of Brussels and the mobility project, such as the effects of the energy and inflation crises. "These have a double impact, both on retailers' turnover and on customers' purchasing power."

Good Move is a project with a number of layers, he said, acknowledging that its implementation sometimes causes some problems, such as in terms of traffic congestion during tunnel works. "We cannot say that Good Move is the fault of everything, but neither can we say that everything is going well with Good Move. I will continue to work to adjust the plan where necessary."

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