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A network analysis of tourist activity

Yong Chen (EHL Hospitality Business School, HES-SO, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Lausanne, Switzerland)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 19 December 2022

53

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to model tourist activities in a network and explore the properties of the network. Such network enables the author to explain and quantify how tourist activities are connected in determining tourist consumption as well as the organization of destination supply.

Design/methodology/approach

The author developed a network formation mechanism to create edges between nodes based on the joint probability of a pair of activities undertaken by tourists at a destination. By adjusting network sparsity, the author created an ensemble of four topologically similar networks for empirical testing. The author used tourist activity data of Hong Kong inbound tourists to test the network model.

Findings

The author found a robust hub–periphery topological structure of the tourist activity network. In addition, the network is featured by high clustering, short diameter and positive correlations between four node centralities, namely, degree, closeness, betweenness and eigenvector centralities. The author also generated the k-cores of the networks to further unravel the structure of hub nodes. The author found that the k-cores are dominated by tourist activities related to shopping or sightseeing, suggesting the high complementarity of these activities.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides a different lens through which tourist consumption can be understood from a macroscopic angle by examining network topology and from a microscopic angle by examining node centralities.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first study attempting to model tourist activity and consumption in a network and explore the properties of the network. Not only has this study provided a new real-world network for network research, but it has also suggested an innovative modeling approach for tourist behavior research.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author thanks his school’s research assistant Julneth Rogenhofer for her help with the Python codes in data analysis. The author also thanks the guest editors and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and feedback.

Citation

Chen, Y. (2022), "A network analysis of tourist activity", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2022-0728

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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