Segmenting Tourist Flocking Behaviour Using a Dynamic Time Warping Approach

Pauline Borg, Szilvia Gyimothy Mørup-Petersen, Marina Toger

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


City planners and place marketers alike are keen to comprehend the character and consequences of short-term tourist mobility in popular destinations. Visitor crowds display a rich variety of self-organised behaviours, and their trajectories may follow distinctively different patterns (and less determined or effective itinerary choices) from those of locals. Despite the growing number of geolocational analyses of cruise tourists’ onshore movements and spatial distribution in different empirical settings (De Cantis et al. 2016; Sciortino et al. 2022; Toger et al. 2023), the conceptualisation of visitors’ intra-destination group-dynamic behaviour during movement still needs investigation. This paper aims at conceptualising and segmenting onshore trajectories of transit cruise visitors in order to better understand what drives flocking and side-tracking behaviour. How can we qualify the beaten track linking the highlights, and what explains those who seek out alternative paths? What are the attractors and deflectors that may shape the choice of itinerary?
We explore extant geolocational data collected in 2018-2019 among transit cruise passengers in Copenhagen. Individual itineraries derived from the GPS trackers are compared with a dynamic time warping method and combined with questionnaires aiming to identify commonalities and differences for a subsequent cluster analysis, developing further from Borg (2023) and Ferrante et al. (2019). The results are held up against earlier conceptualisations of flocking behaviour from tourism (Jaakson 1994), cognitive models of pedestrian behaviour (Moussaïd et al. 2011; and path modelling in consumptive spaces (Hui et al. 2009). The contributions of this work-in-progress paper may highlight new opportunities for post-pandemic crowd management in port cities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventEuropean Tourism Research in the Age of Sustainability and Technology - Modul University, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 6 Sept 20236 Sept 2023


ConferenceEuropean Tourism Research in the Age of Sustainability and Technology
LocationModul University
Internet address


  • Cruise tourist
  • Onshore mobility
  • Group-dynamic behavior
  • Beaten track
  • Dynamic time warping

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