We are aware that the UN has identified tourism data as priority area in terms of exploring the potential of big data to contribute to the work of national statistical organizations (NSOs). However, this was not something we took on, given our programmatic priorities which are urban development, improved socio-economic monitoring and epidemiology.
When we were asked to share ideas on tourism data and a few other areas by a major business group, we did apply our minds to the problem. Here is the slideset.
What are the key ideas? Ensuring that tourists turn on roaming or buy tourist SIMs at the airport is critical. If they use SIMs purchased elsewhere, it will be difficult to differentiate tourists and normal people. Because it is possible for a tourist to roam on multiple networks, the pseudonymization will have to done carefully, across networks. Smartphones with GPS allow for much sharper identification of location than MNBD, but getting access to that data on an ongoing basis will be a challenge.
Some countries scrape the web and transaction/referral sites to identify persons providing accommodation to tourists for a price. This can be done, but duplicate entries need to be deleted and one has to keep up with changing platforms.
Cuba appears to be considering sentiment analysis based on social media content generated by tourists.