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GPS Tracking of Travel Routes of Wanderers and Planners

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Abstract:

Some of the most basic but vital data on recreation and travel behavior at tourism destinations consists of the places people visit, their travel routes, and the amount of time spent at each location. Despite that travel patterns are a fundamental aspect of the tourism phenomenon, little attention has been given to spatial and temporal tourist behaviors. Furthermore, although tourist typologies have identified some differences in visitor behaviors, little is known of how these typologies are related to actual travel patterns. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine if people with different travel styles differ in their actual movement patterns by combining spatial movement data with non-spatial visitor characteristics. This study used GPS to track tourists’ use of an area and surveys to measure different activity styles based on a typology of ‘wanderers’ and ‘planners.’ The ‘wanderer-planner’ typology was validated through confirmatory factor analysis. Factor composite scores were used to separate participants into four groups: Traditional Wanderers, Traditional Planners, Ambivalent Travelers, and Planned Wanderers. GPS data were used to identify spatial and temporal travel patterns and distribution of visitors. Time spent on primary roads, secondary roads, and stopping locations were treated as dependent variables used to identify actual travel pattern differences between ‘wanderers’ and ‘planners.’ Results showed that there were no significant differences between any of the groups on these three variables. Findings revealed that travel style had no significant effect on actual travel patterns. Practical, theoretical, and methodical implications are discussed.

Keywords: GPS; Travel style; human tracking; mobility; planners; tourist typology; wanderers

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2012.726267

Affiliations: 1: Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA 2: Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA 3: Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA 4: School of Planning, Development, Preservation and Landscape Architecture, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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