DISTANCE: A DECISIVE GEOSPATIAL FACTOR FOR IDENTIFYING OPTIMAL SUMMER VACATION LOCATIONS. CASE STUDY OF PAROS
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Many people intend to go for summer holidays, and also everyone keeps on planning these holidays almost every year whether it is a single person, a couple or a family. But how do these people decide on which is going to be the most suitable destination for them? What are they looking for when concluding of where to go? How does distance to certain locations can influence their decisions and how does it contribute on these decisions? This is what this thesis is going to be dealing with, giving answers to these questions. There are a lot of websites where help is provided to tourists who do not have a specific idea in their mind on which can be a pleasant and satisfying destination for their precious, and a lot of times limited, holidays. Even though the existing sites provide some solutions according to what tourists are interested in, they are all location based. One can only check if a certain activity or place is present at a certain area or not. However, this is not the only important aspect. Tourists are also willing to ‘travel’ from their hotel up to a certain distance in order to reach a certain place of interest. For this reason, the spatial component of distance to specific locations should also be considered as an essential factor when choosing a holiday destination. In our case, we will describe the different aspects of distance and the ways that it can be calculated in order to give valuable results in selecting a vacation destination. Through this research we get to know what is really most important for a summer tourist while he is on vacation. We will gather information about which places are mostly wanted and based on that, we will develop an application which will provide individual users with the most suitable vacation locations according to how close these users want to be to certain locations of interest once they get to their potential destination. This way we will start building an application part which will later on be a very useful tool, and more advanced from the already existing ones, which will be a more realistic help for tourists. A comparison of two different approaches, simple buffer and network based distances, will also be present in order to see the differences between two different ways of tackling the problem. And of course at the end of this paper there will be a discussion about the results as well as some recommendations.