Similarities and correlation between resident tourist overnights and Google Trends information in Portugal and its tourism regions
Over the last years, we observed an exponential growth in the number of tourism consumers that use the Internet as a source of information during a destination selection process. This process usually starts in a search engine, more specifically and likely on Google. Google Trends is a tool that displays data on the interest of people in a particular topic based on search trends. This data can probably be used by tourism organisations to help perform intelligent decision making, since it is available almost in real time and much earlier than the official statistical data. Indeed, this paper demonstrates that Google Trends is a tool that can provide useful and relevant information about the interests of individuals in relation to domestic tourism destinations at national and regional levels, and is focused on Google-search data regarding mainland Portugal and its tourism regions: North, Centre, Alentejo and Algarve. Our findings indicate that overnights spent in hotel establishments by the residents in Portugal are strongly correlated with the Google index, mainly in mainland Portugal, Alentejo and Algarve regions, and that the results improve when more municipalities names and the national or the regional tourism brands are included as search terms.
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