Examining Visitors' Characteristics and Behaviors in Tourist Destinations Through Mobile Phone Users' Location Data

Examining Visitors' Characteristics and Behaviors in Tourist Destinations Through Mobile Phone Users' Location Data

Masahide Yamamoto (Nagoya Gakuin University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0106-1.ch013

Abstract

This chapter uses Mobile Kukan Toukei™ (mobile spatial statistics) to collect the location data of mobile phone users in order to count the number of visitors at specific tourist destinations and examine their characteristics. Mobile Kukan Toukei is statistical population data created by an operational data of mobile phone networks. It is possible to estimate the population structure of a region by gender, age, and residence using this service of the company. The locations and characteristics of the individuals obtained herein are derived through a non-identification process, aggregation processing, and concealment processing. Therefore, it is impossible to identify specific individuals. This chapter attempts to identify the number of visitors in different periods and their characteristics based on the location data of mobile phone users collected by the mobile phone company. In addition, it also attempts to demonstrate an alternative method to more accurately infer the number of visitors in specific areas.
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Introduction

Since Prime Minister Koizumi’s first term, the government of Japan had been attempting to boost the tourism industry, because authorities have come to recognize the importance of promoting tourism in order to stimulate sluggish regional economies in Japan. For example, the government launched the Visit Japan Campaign (VJC), which is the promotional effort of the government to activate inbound tourism with the objective of uniting the public and private sectors. The tourism industry, being labor intensive, was expected to absorb some of the labor force from different regions of Japan. Therefore, various economic enterprises and local governments had been struggling to promote the industry.

Due to these efforts including the VJC, Japan’s tourism industry has been enjoying a rapid increase in the number of incoming tourists from other countries. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the number has amounted to approximately 31.2 million people in 2018.

However, several famous tourist destinations such as Kyoto have come to suffer from so-called “over-tourism,” whereas most places still have room to accept more tourists. Therefore, attracting visitors to not too popular places should create a win-win situation. Holding an event to attract visitors could be an alternative, especially for rural areas devoid of famous tourism resources.

Originally, Japan’s tourism industry had been suffering from significant volatility in demand depending on the season and day of the week. Furthermore, there has been a significant loss of business opportunities because of congestion during the busy season. To cope with such volatility, tourism facilities, such as inns and hotels, have been trying to level the demand through daily and/or seasonal pricing adjustments. For example, room rates on the days before holidays are usually more expensive than they are on other days. Despite these efforts, the differences between on-season and off-season occupancy rates of rooms and facilities are still large. In other words, attracting customers in the off-season is an important challenge for tourism. Various events have been held to eliminate the seasonal gap.

Numerous events are currently held to attract visitors to Japan. Many events are newly launched. To date, it has been difficult to accurately grasp the extent to which these events attract visitors and the types of people who visit. However, by employing the recently provided Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services, it is possible to verify the number and characteristics of visitors to a particular event.

Figure 1.

Population statistics of Mobile Kukan Toukei

978-1-7998-0106-1.ch013.f01
Retrieved July 2, 2019, from https://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/corporate/disclosure/mobile_spatial_ statistics/#p01
Figure 2.

Population statistics of Mobile Kukan Toukei

978-1-7998-0106-1.ch013.f02
Retrieved July 2, 2019, from https://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/corporate/disclosure/mobile_spatial_ statistics/#p01

This chapter used “Mobile Kukan Toukei™” provided by NTT DOCOMO, Inc. and DOCOMO Insight Marketing, Inc to count the number of visitors at specific tourist destinations and examine their characteristics. Mobile Kukan Toukei is statistical population data created by a mobile phone network (see Figure 1). Although measuring the exact number of visitors to open tourist areas has been quite difficult so far, it has now become possible to estimate not only the number but also the population structure of a region by gender, age, and residence by using this service (see Figure 2). The locations and characteristics of the individuals obtained herein are derived through a non-identification process, aggregation processing, and concealment processing. Therefore, it is impossible to identify specific individuals.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Kukan Toukei: Statistical population data provided by NTT DOCOMO, Inc., DOCOMO Insight Marketing, Inc. and Mobile Kukan Toukei is a trademark of NTT DOCOMO, Inc.

Yamanaka Hot Springs: A hot spring resort in Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

Wakura Hot Springs: A hot spring resort on the edge of Nanao Bay at the base of the Noto Peninsula in the Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

Noto Peninsula: A peninsula that protrudes north into the Sea of Japan from the coast of the Ishikawa Prefecture.

DOCOMO Insight Marketing, Inc.: The company that provides marketing research, communication, area marketing, and related consulting services.

Ishikawa Prefecture: A prefecture located in central Honshu, the main island of Japan.

NTT DOCOMO, Inc.: Japan's largest telecommunications company, which serves over 73 million customers in Japan via its wireless networks including a nationwide LTE network.

Visit Japan Campaign (VJC): The promotional effort of the Japanese government to activate inbound tourism into Japan, aimed to achieve a target of attracting 10 million foreign tourists to visit Japan by the year 2010.

Google Trends: A website provided by Google which indicates the search volume of specific keywords in Google Search over time and also analyzes the popularity of top search queries across various regions and languages.

Kenrokuen: One of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. The name means a garden which possesses the six characteristics that an ideal garden should have.

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