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Natural Language Processing: Media Sentiment as an Indicator of Overtourism

by Seth Borko + Skift Team - Apr 2019

Skift Research Take

Overtourism is one of the biggest challenges faced by the travel industry. Quantifying it helps diagnose and fight the issue. Our new method of measuring local sentiment toward tourists can build upon and complement existing overtourism metrics.

Report Overview

Overtourism manifests itself differently in every locale, but most destinations recognize the importance of local sentiment in understanding the problem. To evaluate this aspect of overtourism, Skift Research constructed an index that analyzes the text of a large set of over 17,000 local media reports and measures the frequency of stories that indicate a negative press sentiment toward arriving tourists.

Our theory is that struggles with overtourism will show up in the form of negative stories reported in media outlets. By measuring the level of negative tourism stories reported in the local press, we aim to create an index that can indicate overtourism. Higher results on the index indicate that communities are struggling with the negative impact of overtourism.

To test our new methodology, we focused on Iceland as a case study. We found that our new gauge of negative media sentiment worked well as an indicator of overtourism in Iceland. While there can be no one all-encompassing metric to gauge overtourism, our measurement of local media sentiment adds new information to the conversation that was previously difficult to quantify. It also gives us the ability to tie changes in overtourism back to underlying variations in the economy and visitor flows.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • Why we believe it’s important to quantify local sentiment in tourism destination
  • Our proprietary measure of negative media sentiment toward tourists
  • Case study applying our overtourism gauge to Iceland and comparing it with existing data points
  • Negative media sentiment in Barcelona from 2015–2018
  • Description of methodology and process