Tourism and conservation in the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park

The project is based on anonymized mobile phone data and analytical methodologies of Big Data and is based on previous and pioneering  experience carried out for Gran Paradiso National Park.


Studying the movements of people within major protected areas is of fundamental importance to ensure the optimal tourist experience while, at the same time, preserve the natural treasures of the areas. Motion Analytica, in collaboration with the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise (this year marks the centenary of the foundation –, has developed a project to quantify and characterize the presence and mobility of people within a set of important areas.


Tourism and mobility

National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise



Anonymized data from mobile phones

Derived from traffic on phone cells in the areas and provided by Vodafone Italy.


Thematic mapping and proprietary data

To identify the areas of analysis together with experts of the parks.


Context analysis to highlight key indicators of both Italian and foreign tourism in the target regions of each park, and monitoring aspects such as:

presence trends (foreigners and Italians)

regional origin of visitors

distribution of the duration of stays

distribution of the repetitiveness of visits

Analysis by segmentations and groups to highlight the main networks between the park and neighbouring areas, thanks also to a breakdown of users by origin (regional in the case of Italians and national in the case of foreigners).

Analysis of the dynamics of visits to highlight connections and flows between places in the region with details related to:

origin and destination of trips

park entry and exit points

distribution of the number of overnight stays

Analysis of experiences to check the centrality of the places visited in relation to the overall visitor experience.

These analyses are further characterized by the addition of the visitor’s usual places of residence to accurately intercept tourists:

  • Non-park residents, i.e., Italian users whose place of residence is outside the boundaries of the park;
  • Park residents, i.e., Italian users whose place of residence is within the park boundaries;
  • Foreigners, i.e. all roaming users connected to the telephone network.

Finally, visitors were studied and classified in relation to their behavioral patterns:

  • Park hikers: day visitors and returning for the night to an area outside the park;
  • Park tourists: overnight visitors in the park area;
  • Park residents: Italian users whose place of residence is within the park boundaries.


The main results of the analyses, over the overall period analyzed, indicate that the trend in attendance has a strong seasonal characterization, with increases on weekends in more recent years.

In addition, it can be seen very clearly how, due to travel restrictions during the pandemic, the visits of foreigners has been drastically reduced compared to the pre-pandemic period.

However, this is accompanied by an interesting increase in Italian hikers and tourists, which is around 15%.

Non-resident Italian visitors to the park show a peak in attendance concentrated in the weekends, while for foreigners the attendance trend is more evenly distributed over all days of the week.

For the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, analyzing the year-on-year change in attendance does not show an important increase in presences, but it can be seen that proximity tourism is a strength of the park.

The majority of foreigners are of French origin, and in general, circa 15% of hikers return to visit the same park area more than once in a month. This statistic rises to more than 40% for tourists.

Finally, travel flows are more evident during weekdays with a substantial equivalence between Italians and foreigners.


The analyses summarized here provide an innovative approach in studying the movements of people within protected areas. Visitors can be quantified and profiled with in fine detail; this was not possible previously through other methodologies such as interviews, hotel data, and surveys at the visitor centers.

Change the way you interpret human mobility!