In the early 1980’s, the Var département’s Infrastructure Division developed the "Flow Method" (see article in Les Cahiers Espaces No. 60 - April 99 - Michel Carreno - François Marchand). This method is based on a day-by-day census of people (travelers) and vehicle traffic entering and leaving any space the definition of which is considered relevant.
It allows monitoring of the population changes on a site, and therefore of its tourist population. The results, given as a number of tourist-nights, offer a reliable assessment of attendance in a given space, département’s or region, or in a tourist territory, winter resort area, etc.
This flow methodology was gradually adopted by most of the major French tourist regions (Aquitaine, Bretagne, Midi-Pyrenees, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Rhône-Alpes) and used for regional, département’s and local estimates. On each of these territories, the number of tourist-nights are estimated and followed-up regularly.
While this method remains one of the best tools for monitoring sites with strong seasonal variations in their tourist populations, it cannot provide real-time results or be applied to all types of territory.
On the other hand, the Info-Mobility method can satisfy the new requirements of local players: it offers quick results, can be adapted to any geographic sector and takes the mobility and current behaviors into account.
Its development will provide a major territorial analysis tool for the coming years.