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The use of web-based technologies such as blogs, social networks, and marketplaces for storing and accessing data has increased exponentially during the past several years. Consequently, social and computer scientists have new, exciting, and powerful capabilities to analyze massive relational databases and chart new scientific frontiers.

The tourism industry has embraced the rapid expansion of these technologies, creating global transaction networks of data, which connect previously disparate social, environmental, and economic data sets. The tourism industry is a unique mix of private-public partnerships where data fall into both proprietary and public domains. When brought together through advanced analytics, this information may be used to inform insights and enhance decision making capabilities.


In recent years, the use of web-based technologies has increased exponentially. Concurrently, analysts’ ability to collect and analyze large datasets has rapidly grown. Private companies as well as public agencies are gathering massive amounts of data, creating archives rich in predictive potential. These companies and agencies are attempting to capitalize on the availability of these data to inform strategic plans as well as day-to-day decisions. Nearly all of the world’s top tourism-related companies use predictive analytics to formulate better business strategies. Tourism planning, management, and marketing are complex, especially given the spatial and temporal dimensions inherent in tourism’s supply and demand. The challenge for colleges and universities offering advanced tourism degrees is to provide students with a diverse set of tools and technical capabilities (e.g., data mining, spatial-temporal analysis, etc.) in conjunction with traditional tourism planning and management principles that can be leveraged to make the most out of today’s big datasets. The Analytics for Tourism Planning, Management, and Marketing does just that.

Analytics for Tourism Planning, Management, and Marketing Initiative

The Mission?

The Analytics for Tourism Planning, Management, and Marketing Initiative takes advantage of existing Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management graduate course offerings at North Carolina State University (NCSU), as well as offerings at partner institutions—SKEMA Business School and Temple University—to develop courses which can enhance graduate tourism programs from around the world. The goal of this initiative is to formulate a certificate curriculum to offer to students enrolled in graduate-level tourism programs (MSc & PhD).

Why does this matter?

Private and public sectors of the tourism industry are challenging institutions with graduate degree offerings to deepen our understanding of current and changing patterns of customer behaviors. Current managers would like for graduates to have the analytical tools needed to not only understand who buys what, but why they buy, when they buy, and how much they buy. From these insights, private companies and tourism-related federal agencies can deliver increased value to their customers and constituents. With the tools for behavioral analytics, graduates will be able to segment and understand certain customer groups, locate new consumers, and then anticipate their needs.

Featured Projects

Graduate Certificate Program in Tourism Information Management and Advanced Analytics

The Graduate Certificate Program in Tourism Information Management and Advanced Analytics is being developed by Drs. Gene Brothers, Duarte B. Morais, and Jordan Smith in partnership with SKEMA Business School’s Frédéric Dimanche. The purpose of the certificate program is to provide graduate students in tourism-related fields with the skills needed to contribute significantly to travel and tourism research, market research, data management and analytics. The certificate program also benefits existing tourism professionals, raising their research capabilities.

NCSU participation in development of this certificate showcases campus resources and regional affiliations, which help to build relationships with other international institutions. All the course offerings for the certificate will be available to students on the NCSU Raleigh, North Carolina campus, the SKEMA Sophia-Antipolis, France campus, as well as available to students at other universities through distance education. The certificate program also offers the opportunity to study abroad as SKEMA students can now study at NCSU and NCSU students have the opportunity to enroll in classes offered in southern France. Also, the certificate programs are open to both graduate students and professionals, creating an open, diverse, and stimulating learning environment.

Examples of Recent Publications from PRTM Faculty in the area of Analytics for Tourism Planning, Management, and Marketing

Supak, S., H. Devine, G. Brothers, S. Rozier Rich, & W. Shen (2014). An Open Source Web Mapping System for Tourism Planning and Marketing, The Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, Vol. 31, No. 7, pp. 835–853.

Smith, J.W., & Moore, R.L. (2013). Social-psychological factors influencing recreation demand: Evidence from two recreational rivers. Environment and Behavior.
DOI: 10.1177/0013916512446335

Siderelis, C., Moore, R.L., Leung, Y.-F., & Smith, J.W. (2012). A nationwide production analysis of state park attendance in the United States. Journal of Environmental Management, 99, 18-26.

Smith, J.W., Siderelis, C., & Moore, R.L. (2010). The effects of place attachment, hypothetical site modifications, and use levels on recreation behavior. Journal of Leisure Research, 42(4), 621-640.