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Innovation typology in tourism

knowledge transferred from the local population to public institutions may start processes of change that develop into innovations.

The demands of the local population tend to be more effective if they are provided by organizations. Such organizations have more capacity to transfer the needs of the local population to public institutions. Especially relevant are the contributions on sustainable development made by these organizations. Several of these organizations work with the objective of preserving the local cultural, social and natural environment.

In conclusion, the tourism sector is structured in several actors. Innovation in tourism is enhanced through the collaboration between tourism firms, universities, government, customers and the local population. Thus, the function of each actor plays a major role. If some skills or competences are lacking, it may influence innovation performance in the whole sector. In contrast, if there is heterogeneity among actors innovation performance increases. In this context, tourism firms are the main producers of such innovations that enhance economic development. Among firms inside and outside the tourism industry, KIBS are crucial for the production and transfer of specialized knowledge. Next, universities and research centres support innovation in tourism by carrying out science-based and applied research. Furthermore, universities provide high qualified personnel to the sector. Then, demand needs influence innovation in organizations. Customers provide new knowledge and participate in the creation of the tourism experience. The local population also influences innovation performance. They mainly supply knowledge to public institutions. Finally, organizations and other public institutions create the appropriate framework for the interaction between actors and the development of innovations.

4.3. Innovation Determinants

The topic of innovation determinants has been usually analyzed regarding the manufacturing sector. Accordingly, R&D has been considered as the major determinant of innovations. Nevertheless, interaction between actors is the main driver of innovation in tourism. In this matter, Hjalager (2002) emphasizes that the determinants of tourism innovation are to find inside as well as outside the sector. For instance, sectors such as consultancy or IT-services provide many technological opportunities to the tourism sector. However, tourism firms are often not aware of the possibilities that the linkages with the environment can bring to the production of innovations.

Sundbo et al. (2007) contribute to the identification of several innovation determinants in the tourism industry. They indicate that innovative performance is determined by firms’ size, professionalization and collaboration with the environment. Their study is based on private firms. Nonetheless, other organizations participate in the process of innovation in tourism. Besides, there is a need of study other determinants, such as diversification, demand conditions or heterogeneity of actors.

Therefore, in this section a classification of determinants is provided, which takes into consideration the diverse actors that participate in the innovation process. This includes private and public organizations from inside and outside the tourism sector.


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