On 26 June at 10:15 Janika Raun will defend her doctoral thesis „Mobile positioning data for tourism destination studies and statistics”.
Senior Research Fellow Anto Aasa (TÜ ÖMI)
Professor Rein Ahas (2015-2018)
Professor Noam Shoval (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
Professor John Östh (University of Uppsala, Sweden)
Destination is the fundamental unit in tourism research, development and marketing. Most frequently it is seen as a fixed geographical area where tourists go. This static view is not helpful in making adequate management and marketing decisions. Practitioners are mostly interested in who, when and where are visiting the destinations. Thus, in this thesis destinations are analysed based on the movement of visitors. Recent rapid advancements in ICT-based technologies have opened up several new opportunities to collect data about human mobility, including tourists. In this thesis, passive mobile positioning data are used to analyse the movements of foreign tourists’ in Estonia. Mobile positioning data are automatically collected by mobile network operators for billing purposes and consist of the time and location of call activities (e.g., phone call, SMS) made in Estonia, and the country of origin of the visitor. The comparison of results derived from mobile data with official accommodation statistics shows a strong correlation. For the detailed destination analysis, the spatial and temporal dimension of visits among different countries of origin were analysed, and based on the movement of visitors the main gateways to Estonia were identified. The results confirm that destinations may appear on different geographical levels, smaller destination areas inside Estonia can be distinguished, visitors from different countries have different movement patterns and Tallinn is the main gateway to Estonia. Thus, the results illustrate that destination can be analysed empirically using the spatiotemporal pattern of visits from mobile positioning data. Therefore, destination no longer has to be a static geographical area, on the contrary, destination is a dynamic unit that changes in time and space and may vary among visitors.