Using high-resolution GPS data to create a tourism Intensity-Density Index


Technological developments over the last two decades have allowed researchers to employ advanced tracking technologies to collect high-resolution spatial and temporal data. Despite the extensive use of these technologies in tourism research, they have not yet been applied to the existing indicators of tourism demand. The current paper aims to fill this lacuna, proposing the use of tracking technologies to measure tourist activity in destinations and, in particular, extreme conditions such as tourist saturation and overtourism. It introduces a new index for tourism demand, the Intensity-Density Index (IDI), based on high-resolution data in time and space. After presenting an overview of the common indicators for measuring tourism demand, the most common indicators, the Tourism Intensity Rate (TIR) and the Tourism Density Rate (TDR), are calculated twice, using traditional methods and advanced tracking technologies. The second calculation is based on a unique survey conducted in Israel between 2015 and 2017, which included some 3,000 tourists whose activity in the destination was documented entirely on a national level and at high resolution. Finally, the methodology for calculating high-resolution (HR) indicators using GPS data is presented, resulting in the IDI. Advanced tracking technologies’ use in calculating the IDI not only helps present tourism activity more accurately in terms of time and space but can also be applied in tourism management to serve as a tool for effective planning.

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