Harnessing Big Data to Inform Tourism Destination Management Organizations



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In the last few years, Portugal has been witnessing a rapid growth of tourism, which reflects positively in many aspects, especially in what regards economic factors. Although, it also leads to a number of challenges, all of them difficult to quantify: tourist congestions, loss of city identity, degradation of patrimony, etc. It is important to ensure that the required foundations and tools to understand and efficiently manage tourism flows exist, both in the city-level and country-level.

This thesis studies the potential of Big data to inform destination management organizations. To do so, three sources of Big data are discussed: Telecom, Social media and Airbnb data. This is done through the demonstration and analysis of a set of visualizations and tools, as well as a discussion of applications and recommendations for challenges that have been identified in the market.

The study begins with a background information section, where both global and local trends in tourism will be analyzed, as well as the factors that affect tourism and consequences of the latter. As a way to analyze the growth of tourism in Portugal and provide prototypes of important tools for the development of data driven tourism policy making, Airbnb and telecom data are analyzed using a network science approach to visualize country-wide tourist circulation and presents a model to retrieve and analyze social media. In order to compare the results from the Airbnb analysis, data regarding the Portuguese hotel industry is used as control data.