Visitors to the Gold Coast will have mobile phones and credit card spending tracked if a plan by the local council goes ahead.
Visitors to the Gold Coast will have mobile phones and credit card spending tracked if a plan by the local council goes ahead.

‘Big Brother’ plan to watch Gold Coast tourists

TOURISTS' mobile phones and credit card spending may soon be tracked by Gold Coast Council in a Big Brother-like program designed to give the city the edge over other tourist destinations.

Gold Coast's digital city platform, which is expected to get the green light at a council meeting tonight, will collect data from visitors to help the council decide how to boost tourism and where to invest, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

"Big Brother" tools will be used in the first phase of the project, pending the approval of up to $3 million of funding over the next two years.

 

Visitors to the Gold Coast will have mobile phones and credit card spending tracked if a plan by the local council goes ahead.
Visitors to the Gold Coast will have mobile phones and credit card spending tracked if a plan by the local council goes ahead.

 

They include location insights from telcos, Wi-Fi usage, credit card spending on accommodation, retail, food and beverages, use of flights, public transport and Uber, and data from the Internet of Things devices around the city.

Council chief innovation and economy officer Ian Hatton said in a briefing to the planning committee the city would predominantly use telco data and fully anonymised spend patterns from the major banks.

 

The plan may help boost Gold Coast tourism by as much as $3 billion.
The plan may help boost Gold Coast tourism by as much as $3 billion.

 

From that, authorities will be able to pinpoint weaknesses in the tourism market and find out where to invest to potentially boost the sector by as much as $3 billion, according to the Bulletin.

"Nobody knows anything about people once they arrive. So to give you some idea of where the opportunities are out there, if every visitor to the Gold Coast bought an extra cup of coffee while they were here, that's worth about $50 million into the economy," council chief innovation and economy officer Ian Hatton said in a briefing to the planning committee.

Mr Hatton said the tourism market was "extremely competitive".

 

The council’s plans will help it determine tourists’ next move in the holiday destination.
The council’s plans will help it determine tourists’ next move in the holiday destination.

 

"Cheap hotels are extremely competitive. People can go somewhere else," Mr Hatton told councillors.

"What we are proposing is to bring those data sets together, in a completely secure environment, run those analytics during the Christmas period."

The project will be discussed in a full council meeting tonight and if it goes ahead, a trial will be held during the peak summer tourism season.


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