This chapter discusses the emerging network science approach to the study of complex adaptive systems and applies tools derived from statistical physics to the analysis of tourism destinations. The authors provide a brief history of network science and the characteristics of a network as well as different models such as small world and scale free networks, and dynamic properties such as resilience and information diffusion. The Italian resort island of Elba is used as a case study allowing comparison of the communication network of tourist organizations and the virtual network formed by the websites of these organizations. The study compares the parameters of these networks to networks from the literature and to randomly created networks. The analyses include computer simulations to assess the dynamic properties of these networks. The results indicate that the Elba tourism network has a low degree of collaboration between members. These findings provide a quantitative measure of network performance. In general, the application of network science to the study of social systems offers opportunities for better management of tourism destinations and complex social systems.
Scott, N., Baggio, R. and Cooper, C. (2011), "Network Analysis Methods for Modeling Tourism Inter-Organizational Systems", Woodside, A.G. (Ed.) Tourism Sensemaking: Strategies to Give Meaning to Experience (Advances in Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 177-221. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1871-3173(2011)0000005011
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