Characterizing destination networks through mobility traces of international tourists — A case study using a nationwide mobile positioning dataset

Yang Xu, Jingyan Li, Alexander Belyi, Sangwon Park

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This article demonstrates how large-scale tourist mobility data can be linked with network science approaches to better understand tourism destinations and their interactions. By analyzing a mobile positioning dataset that captures the nationality and movement patterns of foreign tourists to South Korea, we employ a few metrics to quantify the network properties of tourism destinations, aiming to reveal the collective dynamics of tourist movements and key differences across nationalities. According to the results, the number of inbound tourists to destinations follows a log-normal distribution, which indicates a notable heterogeneity of destination attractiveness. Although this finding holds across different nationalities, we find that tourists from different countries tended to visit different places in South Korea. A community detection algorithm partitions South Korea into several tourism regions, each covering a set of destinations that are closely connected by tourist flows. The implications for transportation development and regional tourism planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104195
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Community detection
  • Mobile positioning
  • Network science
  • Tourism big data
  • Tourist mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management

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