The Japan Tourism Authority is planning to use location data for mobile phone users to track the movements of tourists in what it says is a project to discover popular spots and develop tourism resources, dismissing privacy concerns.
Research using such data, also known as "meta data," covering an estimated 700,000 people will be conducted on a trial basis at Mount Fuji and seven other locations until March next year, according to the agency.
Mobile phone carriers will update the location data of users of phones with global positioning systems every five minutes to a map information service company that will in turn produce movement charts for analysis.
On privacy concerns, an agency official said, "please feel at ease because personal information such as name, address and sex are removed."
The study aims to help travel agencies and municipal governments in their efforts to boost tourism, the agency said. Attempts to understand tourist movements are currently undertaken by via conventional questionnaire surveys.
But questionnaires do not help reveal much, for instance, about the concentration of tourists at unexpected places and how they move from sightseeing spots to their accommodation facilities, the agency said.
On Thursday, the agency held its first meeting of experts on the use of meta-data for tourism.
Latest stories in this category:
- North Korea confirms Kim Jong-Un uncle purged
- Accident triggers worker riot in S'pore
- North Korea says leader's uncle sacked for 'criminal' acts
- Drones, Taliban on agenda as Hagel heads to Pakistan
- Dalai Lama not to attend Mandela funeral
- China bans shark fin soup from official receptions
- Teen Ko grabs 1st professional title in Taiwan event
- One month after super typhoon, Philippines faces huge challenges