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Innovation typology in tourism

the tourism industry is directly influenced by the career opportunities offered to employees (Hjalager 2002).

Regarding human resources, the tourism industry is also characterized by high fluctuations of personnel. Though exchanges in qualified personnel between organizations might contribute to knowledge transfer and innovation, this is not often the case in the tourism sector. Tourism firms are rarely receptive to knowledge inputs from new personnel (Hjalager 2002). Furthermore, as a result of labour fluctuations, the capacity of firms to acquire new knowledge remains low (Sundbo et al. 2007).

Another factor that influences personnel fluctuation is the high seasonality of the tourism product, which is especially relevant in coastal destinations. Habitually, firms on destinations affected by high seasonality reduce productivity during the low season. Accordingly, part of the staff is only employed during several months, lacking thus on continuity. Furthermore, the sector is affected by low salaries and irregular working conditions (Hjalager 2002).

The influence of seasonality goes beyond the challenge of creating career perspectives for personnel. It also affects the whole destination. The economy of the region is influenced by these changes. Furthermore, the natural and sociological environments are affected by overuse periods. Accordingly, sustainability is difficult to maintain when seasonality is high in destinations.

Seasonality can be reduced by investing in new infrastructures and facilities that take alternatives for the low season into account. These new products can be then offered to new markets. Furthermore, the image of the destination can be improved by developing marketing strategies regarding alternative products. Flagestad (2006) suggests that seasonality can be reduced in destinations by implementing the theories of national innovation systems. In this regard, collaboration between actors is required in order to reduce seasonality. Especially relevant in this matter is the role of the public sector.

Consequently, the characteristics of the tourism sector can enhance innovation or represent innovation barriers. Accordingly, these can be classified as advantages and disadvantages.

The sector’s disadvantages to innovate are: lack on protection from imitation, reluctance to collaborate with other organizations, high seasonality, insufficient natural resources, insufficient benefit from traditional R&D, lack on professionalization, low career perspectives for employees, low salaries, irregular working conditions and personnel fluctuations.

The sector’s advantages to innovate are: existence of more experienced tourists, demand’s diversification, increasing demand of high qualitative products, expansion of new markets, opportunity to develop sustainable products, entrepreneurship’s capability and the summative capacity of SMEs.

In this section, it has been emphasized that several aspects like globalization or sustainability have lately influenced innovative performance. However, tourism has frequently been subjected to changes in preferences, technologies and institutional


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