Forecasting tourist arrivals at attractions: Search engine empowered methodologies
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Authors: Volchek, K., Liu, A., Song, H. and Buhalis, D.
Journal: Tourism Economics
Tourist decision to visit attractions is a complex process influenced by multiple factors of individual context. This study investigates how the accuracy of tourism demand forecasting can be improved at the micro level. The number of visits to five London museums is forecast and the predictive powers of Naïve I, seasonal Naïve, seasonal autoregressive moving average, seasonal autoregressive moving average with explanatory variables, SARMAX-mixed frequency data sampling and artificial neural network models are compared. The empirical findings extend understanding of different types of data and forecasting algorithms to the level of specific attractions. Introducing the Google Trends index on pure time-series models enhances the forecasts of the volume of arrivals to attractions. However, none of the applied models outperforms the others in all situations. Different models’ forecasting accuracy varies for short- and long-term demand predictions. The application of higher frequency search query data allows for the generation of weekly predictions, which are essential for attraction- and destination-level planning.