Innovative use of data for tourism

Tourism is the fastest growing sector in the world and therefore it has a huge impacts on many facets of our society. The number of tourists grows annually by 7% and the sector provides 10.4% of global GDP, 313 million jobs and 9.9% of employment (WTTC, 2018). In the coming years, substantial growth is also expected in the Netherlands and more emphasis will be put on regions such as Fryslân. Tourism is of great importance in an economic sense, but it also has a huge impact on both the landscape and the community.

Lack of insight based on data and information

It is therefore crucial to gather and monitor knowledge about tourism and having proper data and information is essential. Despite the importance of tourism, we actually know far too little about it. The tourism sector, and the impact it has on the economy, ecology and society, raise many questions:

  • how many people come to Friesland?
  • how do they move?
  • which places do they visit?
  • how do different types of tourists value these places?
  • how much is spent by tourists?
  • which companies in the sector are successful and which are facing difficulties?
  • how do residents feel about tourism?

Finding answers to these questions has proved to be an enormous challenge.

DataFryslân: cooperation in the field of tourism data

Since a few months, our tourism expert Jasper Heslinga has joined DataFryslân as program leader where he is responsible for the tourism and recreation research program. DataFryslân aims to improve and accelerate data-driven decision-making in Fryslân. Cooperation is a central element. The cooperation partners have already started initiatives on data and information. DataFryslân is trying to build further on these initiatives and, for example, encourage them to share their knowledge with each other. In addition, the potential of new data sources and new methodologies is examined in consultation with the partners.

Tourism & Recreation Program

As program leader for Tourism & Recreation at DataFryslân, Jasper hopes to get the pieces of the puzzle together in the near future in order to find answers to the questions raised above. Within the Tourism & Recreation program the projects below have started or will start soon:

  • Project 1: Who, what, where (basic information on tourism and recreation)
  • Project 2: Scraping & text analysis
  • Project 3: Residents panel on tourism and recreation
  • Project 4: Vitality tourism-recreational sector in Fryslân
  • Project 5: Customer journey of visitors to Fryslân
  • Project 6: Image recognition (satellite data)

Do you have ideas for using new data sources and new research methods to strengthen the tourism sector? Let Jasper know.

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Ask your question to Jasper

Jasper is an expert in tourism analytics and data science.