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Mapping International Visitors

Thanks to Kurt Janson, Tourism Alliance, for this fascinating update on a very exciting piece of work by London First where they have worked with partners such as Mastercard, Airbnb and London and Partners to track spending by international visitors to London. This work starts to really show the power of big data in mapping where visitors go, what they do and what they spend their money on while in the country. The data can be used to track movement and expenditure patterns by origin markets and through the day, so you can see where Chinese visitors go and what they do compared to German visitors or those from the USA right down to a 100m grid level. The potential of this in tourism development planning and marketing activities is enormous.

This approach has enormous potential use in tourism development planning and marketing activities, especially when you could map trends and changes over time to show what impact campaigns were having in target markets and the amount of revenue that tourism development initiatives were having on local economies. The data and insight available from this approach represents a real step change over traditional data sources such as IPS and is the way forward in demonstrating the value of tourism to local communities.

Unfortunately,  developing this approach for the domestic tourism market is going to be more difficult as this work is based on the country of issue of the credit cards. However, it does show the way forward and it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that, in future,  domestic credit card use could be mapped against where cards are registered  (ie., the expenditure patterns of Birmingham registered cards in Cornwall). The report is available to download from the Resources section of the TMI web site.

Mapping International Visitors