Global trends in length of stay: implications for destination management and climate change

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Length-of-stay (LOS) is a key parameter in destination management that determines the number of guest nights relative to arrival numbers, with concomitant repercussions for revenue generation and other performance indicators. This article investigates the development of LOS for 32 destinations in developed and emerging economies as well as Small Islands and Developing States (SIDS). The analysis is based on UNWTO data for 478.5 million international tourist arrivals, or about 40% of the global total in 2015, for the years 1995–2015. Results show considerable differences in LOS between destinations, with a global trend of falling LOS, by 14.8% over the study period. However, in individual destination countries, LOS was found to be increasing. Analyses of LOS trends reveal that these can neither be explained by distance–decay relationships nor business to leisure arrival ratios. Results are discussed with regard for destination management and revenue optimisation, transport infrastructure needs, as well as sector greenhouse gas emissions.


External organisations
  • Western Norway Research Institute
  • University of Waterloo
  • Canterbury University
  • University of Oulu
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic Geography


  • Climate change, destination management, greenhouse gas emissions, length of stay, optimisation, transport capacity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2087-2101
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number12
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch