The past decade has witnessed dramatic growth in the implementation of various tracking technologies in tourism studies. A thorough review of literature reveals that 45 papers were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, comprising 40 percent of the papers published in the three leading journals on tourism scholarship. The rate of papers published annually has grown in recent years and it is clear that this novel field is further expanding. The majority of studies analyzed employed GPS, mobile positioning, Bluetooth tracking, geocoded social media, and photo databases. The studies ranged in geographical scope from individual attractions to global capacity. Based on our review, tourism research that uses tracking data can be divided into three categories: the first generation of studies focused on methodological dimensions and the potential of tracking data. The second generation made use of spatially and temporally rich data and uncovered new aspects of tourism. The third generation made use of the new data sources to challenge fundamental questions on tourism and consumer behavior. Digital tracking data have clear advantages – data are spatially and temporally precise, geographic and temporal coverage of datasets is broad, and tracking data can be supplemented using questionnaires, sensors, and other sources.
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- passive positioning
- tourism research
- tourist mobility
- tracking technologies