Measuring the impact of social media information on the spread of infectious diseases in tourism destination: A case study of Zika virus in Miami

Authors: Eunjung Yang*, University of Florida, Jinwon Kim, University of Florida, Lori Pennington-Gray, University of Florida
Topics: Tourism Geography
Keywords: Social media, information strategy, tourism crisis management, Zika virus diffusion management, community sustainability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Mid-City, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As people travel more frequently and widely, infectious diseases can spread, have destructive effects on communities, and potentially become pandemics. Such a crisis has serious negative effects on the image and sustainable management of a community dependent upon tourism. Previous studies have emphasized that social media is a key source of information in a crisis situation. However, relatively little research has been carried out on the most effective volume and types of information to employ in a crisis response strategy during outbreaks of infectious disease. The purpose of this study is to analyze the way in which people can obtain information most efficiently depending upon how much, and what type of, information is provided. To achieve this purpose, Facebook data (data type, number of shares, comments, etc.) was used during 2016 when an outbreak of Zika virus, a mosquito-transmitted infection, first occurred in Miami. Data were collected from health organizations (e.g., CDC, WHO) and other information delivery media (e.g., Miami Herald) that served as significant sources of information during the outbreak. As a result, this study proposed two core information strategies: (1) one designed to reduce the spread of Zika virus in a tourism-dependent community, and (2) one intended to maintain sustainable management of tourism destinations after the crisis has ended. The strategies proposed can help crisis managers control the spread of diseases and manage the sustainability of communities dependent upon tourism by using the most efficient information with respect to cost, time, and effect when infectious disease outbreaks occur

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