Impact of Inter-Country Distances on International Tourism


Tourism is a worldwide practice with international tourism revenues increasing from US$495 billion in 2000 to US$1340 billion in 2017. Its relevance to the economy of many countries is obvious. Even though the World Airline Network (WAN) is global and has a peculiar construction, the International Tourism Network (ITN) is very similar to a random network and barely global in its reach. To understand the impact of global distances on local flows, we map the flow of tourists around the world onto a complex network and study its topological and dynamical balance. We find that although the WAN serves as infrastructural support for the ITN, the flow of tourism does not correlate strongly with the extent of flight connections worldwide. Instead, unidirectional flows appear locally forming communities that shed light on global travelling behaviour inasmuch as there is only a 15% probability of finding bidirectional tourism between a pair of countries. We conjecture that this is a consequence of one-way cyclic tourism by analyzing the triangles that are formed by the network of flows in the ITN. Finally, we find that most tourists travel to neighbouring countries and mainly cover larger distances when there is a direct flight, irrespective of the time it takes.

arXiv Preprint