Analysis of Tourism Dynamics and Special Events through Mobile Phone Metadata

Human Dynamics

Y. Leng, A. Noriega, A.S. Pentland, I. Winder, N. Lutz, L. Alonso: "Analysis of Tourism Dynamics and Special Events through Mobile Phone Metadata". 2016. Proceedings of Data for Good Exchange (D4GX) 2016. New York, NY.


Tourism has been an increasingly important factor in global economy, society and environment, accounting for a signifi- cant share of GDP and labor force. Policy and research on tourism traditionally rely on surveys and economic datasets, which are based on small samples and depict tourism dy- namics at low spatial and temporal granularity. Anonymous call detail records (CDRs) are a novel source of data, show- ing enormous potential in areas of high societal value: such as epidemics, poverty, and urban development. This study demonstrates the added value of using CDRs for the formu- lation, analysis and evaluation of tourism strategies, at the national and local levels. In the context of the European country of Andorra, we use CDRs to evaluate marketing strategies in tourism, understand tourists’ experiences, and evaluate revenues and externalities generated by touristic events. We do this by extracting novel indicators in high spa- tial and temporal resolutions, such as tourist flows per coun- try of origin, flows of new tourists, tourist revisits, tourist externalities on transportation congestion, spatial distribu- tion, economic impact, and profiling of tourist interests. We exemplify the use of these indicators for the planning and evaluation of high impact touristic events, such as cultural festivals and sports competitions. 

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