Back to top

Tourism flows and visitor density in European destinations during and after the Covid-19 pandemic

Ongoing research
Begin: February 2022
End: January 2024

The tourism sector in Europe has experienced unprecedented times with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown measures. With the end of travel restrictions tourist numbers have started to increase again but detailed analyses of the impact of the pandemic in tourist flows before, during and after travel restrictions at regional and local scales are still lacking. The aim of this project is to provide a comprehensive and current overview of changing patterns of mobility in selected destinations in Denmark, France and Spain as a result of the pandemic. It seeks to do so by collecting and analysing unique data from TripAdvisor.

Research participants


Contact : Christophe Gay


The project will collect real-time data from unique sources using computer-based algorithms to scrap large data from TripAdvisor, a leading travel portal. The project will cover periods before, during and after travel Covid-related travel restrictions in France, Spain and Denmark. Using these data, the project will produce descriptions and analyses relating to:

• Regions and individual locations: The data collected will cover sites in each of the three countries studied. Novel insights into tourist flows in regions and individual locations will be provided.

• Patterns of demand and tourist behaviour as well as visitor satisfaction: Patterns of tourist demand, visiting frequency and activities undertaken will be revealed by the use of unique data, including the (anonymized) background of the visitor.

• Environmental challenges: The project will identify and quantify the extent of a pandemic-induced redirection of tourism flows from over-crowded destinations to lesser known destinations, including those in the periphery.

The project will assess political responses to the pandemic with a particular focus on the mechanisms of policies and their causal effects, as well as considering regional specifics and differences. The analytical findings and policy recommendations of the project will be useful for developing strategies and policies at different scales too (e.g., visits to high-density sites vs. periphery). The project addresses the following questions:

  • To what degree has tourism activity, as revealed by Tripadvisor data, decreased during the pandemic and how quickly is it recovering?
  • How have travel distances changed due to the pandemic?
  • What are the relative changes in the shares of domestic vs. foreign tourists?
  • Has the pandemic redirected tourism flows from crowded top destinations to lesser-known sites?
  • Has the pandemic redirected tourist flows from urban areas to the countryside?

The project will provide new findings that have an interdisciplinary relevance and contribute to several research areas, including economics, business, tourism, geography, and environment.


A new large dataset on the mobility of people visiting tourist sites will be produced by collecting big data from TripAdvisor. Given the data source and data collection methods, the project will be able to construct unique and real-time databases for a period before the onset of the Covid-19, for the months during the pandemic and lockdowns, as well as after the gradual lifting of travel restrictions.

This data will be described and shared with the wider academic community, which will facilitate, stimulate and improve the quality of further research in related areas.

The duration of the project is 2 years. The beginning of the project is 1 February 2022 and the end is 31 January 2024.


For the Mobile Lives Forum, mobility is understood as the process of how individuals travel across distances in order to deploy through time and space the activities that make up their lifestyles. These travel practices are embedded in socio-technical systems, produced by transport and communication industries and techniques, and by normative discourses on these practices, with considerable social, environmental and spatial impacts.

En savoir plus x

Associated Thematics :


To cite this publication :

Karol J. Borowiecki (06 July 2022), « Tourism flows and visitor density in European destinations during and after the Covid-19 pandemic », Préparer la transition mobilitaire. Consulté le 23 April 2024, URL:

Licence Creative Commons
Projects by Forum Vies Mobiles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 France License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at contact.