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Council pins hopes on new app as Brisbane CBD struggles to recover from pandemic

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Brisbane’s central business district is still struggling to return to the level of activity it enjoyed before the pandemic, with offical figures reporting Queen St Mall pedestrian traffic down by nearly half of pre-COVID levels.

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A recent report to Brisbane City Council revealed that while activity in the Mall had recovered somewhat from its low point at Easter last year, sensors monitoring pedestrian numbers found they remained at 54 per cent of what they were prior to the pandemic.

“Border closures, local cases, lockdowns, and mask restrictions continue to have an impact on the return to pre-COVID-19 ‘normal’ patterns of movement and commerce,” the report by the council’s economic development division said.

Brisbane CBD office occupancy was also sitting at about 51 per cent, according to the report, which was presented to the council’s economic development committee last week.

The figures came as the council pointed to one project aimed at promoting activity, a new app aimed at residents and visitors wanting ideas on where to go and what to do in Brisbane, has proven a hit, with 100,000 downloads recorded since it was launched in September.

The Brisbane App, which give users details on more than 1500 cafes, restaurants, shops, bars and other businesses, is geared toward giving small firms a higher profile among potential customers.

One of its most popular features are its guides, which have given thousands of users ideas on activities from the “quirkiest things to do in Brisbane” to date night options and where to go to see live music.

While hospitality and tourism apps are commonplace, the Brisbane City Council said it wanted to ensure that small businesses did not miss out on opportunities to remote their services.

When it called tenders for the app last year, the council told prospective developers that it wanted something that would solve the issue of residents having to look through multiple websites, search engines and social media sites to find out about local events or business in their area.

The council is no stranger to using apps to promote it services or provide information, having released its first app in 2010. Since then apps for library services, weather and traffic alerts and car parking have been developed.

The Brisbane App currently lists more than 1650 events, 8000 places including restaurants, hotels, pools and the like and about 190 guides.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said it was part of a $58 million investment in projects to ensure small business recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other popular guides include “budget friendly activities” or children (3345 views), Brisbane’s hidden gems (2043 views) and outdoor activities (1664 views).

 

 

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