Purpose: Understanding the essence of tourism flows is one of the fundamental undertakings of tourism geography research and a key issue behind effective destination management and development. However, thus far, few studies have analysed tourist movement on a national scale. This is due to the deficiency of spatially accurate data that can be used for recording tourists’ intra-national movements. This paper aims to illustrate the impact of major gateways on national tourism flows by using tracking data; and demonstrate and compare the use and applicability of tracking data on a national scale. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, the authors analyse foreign tourists’ movements using two spatially and temporally precise tracking data sets – call detail records from passive mobile positioning data and GPS data from smartphones – in two countries, Estonia and Israel. The movements of international tourists entering the countries via main gateways are studied, with a focus on the impact of gateways on intra-national tourism flows. Findings: The results clearly show the impact of gateways on the concentration of tourists. In the two respective countries, the critical mass of time was spent in close proximity to the gateway and, due to distance decay, a dramatic decrease was seen in visitation to areas that were distanced from both countries’ core areas. Originality/value: To the best of authors’ knowledge, this is the first time when tourism flows attained from tracking data are compared on a national scale for two countries.
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- Mobile positioning
- Tourism flows
- Tracking technologies
- Urban tourism