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AGILE: GIScience Series Open-access proceedings of the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe
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Articles | Volume 3
AGILE GIScience Ser., 3, 50, 2022
AGILE GIScience Ser., 3, 50, 2022
11 Jun 2022
11 Jun 2022

The Effect of COVID-19 on the Origins of Florida State Park Visitors and Online Reviewers

Innocensia Owuor1, Hartwig H. Hochmair1, and Gernot Paulus2 Innocensia Owuor et al.
  • 1Geomatics Sciences, University of Florida, Florida, USA
  • 2Spatial Information Management, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Villach, Austria

Keywords: social media, TripAdvisor, Yelp, parks

Abstract. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused substantial socioeconomic disruptions and affected travel behaviour at various geographic scales. Public parks were some of the few recreational spaces that people could visit while adhering to the COVID-19 mitigation measures such as social distancing, travel restrictions, or curfews. This study draws data from profiles of TripAdvisor and Yelp users who reviewed Florida state park as well as origins of state park visitors from SafeGraph patterns data to compare the spatial distribution of reviewer and visitor origins before (2019) and during (2020) the pandemic. Results show an increase in the proportion of reviewers and visitors from within the State of Florida during the pandemic as well as shorter distance between reviewer/visitor origin states and Florida. This reflects reduced mobility at the national scale due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions but also highlights the important role of outdoor recreational areas, such as parks, for local communities during such crises.

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