Assessing the impact of tourism
A dozen SLAB counters have been installed along the 250 km (155 mi) Cathar Trail in the upper Aude Valley. The count data has been compared with data from:
- Field surveys of visitors;
- Surveys of local accommodation providers (campgrounds, mountain huts, cottages, hotels, etc.);
- Telephone and mail surveys;
- Panel discussions (academics, technicians, etc.); and
- Local tourism promoters (hiking guide sales, etc.).
Comparing this data with the count data logged by pedestrian, equestrian and mountain bicycle modes, helped identify the social and economic impacts on the popularity of the Cathar Trail, as well as the influence of the media.
Count data can also be used to:
- Measure the number of visitors hiking each trail.
- Determine the peak visitation periods (by hour, day, week or month).
- Establish the impact of the weather on visitor rates.
- Understand usage patterns in order to improve visitor experience.