What Flickr can tell us about nature tourism

Appeared in Conservation Magazine

If you recently visited a national park, chances are you took a ton of pictures. Now it turns out that vacation photos uploaded to websites can help researchers study patterns in nature tourism, a major source of revenue for many regions.

Travel and tourism account for about 9 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Nature tourism at parks, beaches, and wildlife-watching spots is a “major and growing” part of global travel, the study authors write in Scientific Reports. Researchers often want to figure out how certain ecosystem features, such as temperature and biodiversity, affect visitation rates. But counting visitors in person is time-consuming and expensive… (continue)