This study investigates tourist behaviour in the Canton of Ticino Switzerland, a geographically dispersed destination, by analysing use patterns of a ‘destination card’ sold by the local destination management organization. Destination cards offer free or highly discounted entry into partner attractions and activities often coupled with free public transport access in the area. Within this context, the study sought to determine if evidence of concentrated behaviour existed, either spatially or by activity. Cluster analysis revealed four discrete market segments. Three of them showed a high degree of spatial concentration in their movements, augmented by some clearly defined activity preferences. The fourth showed no clear pattern, travelling widely throughout the Canton and sampling a range of activities. Hence, the combination of transport and attractions’ entrance appeals to two different user groups, one looking to gain access to attractions and one seeking ease of transport. Discriminant analysis further supported the results with defining the determinant variables of the cluster membership and confirmed that the point of sales has an important role in identifying the consumption of activities and the extension of the area visited. Thus, to conceptualize the decision process in an intra-destination level, the spatial structure of the destination seems to play a greater influence on behaviour than its product structure. The paper illustrates how analysis of destination card data can assist destinations in better understanding their markets and discusses potential research opportunities that can generate real marketing benefits. A number of recommendations especially for destination managers and tourism operators are also identified to enhance the information gathered. Product bundling, regional cooperation and strategic marketing opportunities at sales points are suggested in this context to further incentivize tourist mobility.
- activity consumption
- destination card
- discriminant analysis
- intra-destination movement patterns
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management