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Innovation typology in tourism

emerge from the interaction with suppliers, customers and other organizations and institutions.

Innovations in tourism firms are habitually not commercialized to other sectors. The production of innovations in the tourism industry has two objectives: commercialization to tourists and use in the same industry. Tourism firms mainly produce innovations in the form of services, i.e. process and product innovations, which are commercialized to customers. Moreover, organizational, process, and marketing innovations produced by tourism firms are used in the sector.

Besides, the tourism industry acquires innovations from other sectors. Consequently, tourism firms are users of innovations provided by other sectors of the economy. Acquisitions of embodied and disembodied knowledge are adapted in production, organizational and marketing activities.


The learning economy, which is based on the acquisition, production and transfer of knowledge, has influenced the development of KIBS. These types of firms acquire knowledge from different sources, produce new knowledge and transfer it to other organizations and institutions (OECD 2006). KIBS are usually high professionalized firms that provide know-how to tourism organizations in different stages of the innovation life cycle. Employees in KIBS are habitually high qualified. Collaboration with KIBS thus plays a major role in tourism innovation.

Regarding their contribution to innovation within the tourism sector, KIBS are mainly producers of knowledge. They provide embodied and disembodied knowledge (Lundvall 2004). Firms are the main adopters of knowledge produced by KIBS. They contribute with knowledge on process, product, organizational and marketing innovations. In this context, the development of innovations is influenced by the interaction between KIBS and organizations as well as the capacity to transform solutions provided by KIBS into innovations.

KIBS can be part of the tourism industry or they can be external actors. KIBS within the tourism industry are mainly consultancy activities and training services. Services provided by KIBS from outside the tourism industry are IT-applications, financial services, consultancy, etc. Moreover, KIBS can be localized within a destination or they can interact globally.

Universities and Research Centres

Regarding their main activities, universities and research centres develop similar processes. Research centres, however, carry out more research based on applied knowledge than universities. The results of research performed in universities and research centres can increase technological opportunity in the sector. Accordingly, technological trajectories in the sector are highly influenced by the inputs provided by these institutions.


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